Rachel Azaria works for balance in Israel's religious conflicts

Rachel Azaria’s office is sparsely but intentionally decorated with a Hebrew translation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s biography and a framed photo of her role model, Hillary Clinton.  

Before she became a member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, Azaria spent her childhood shuttling between the United States and Israel. This has led her to try to quell the conflicts between Am­erican and Israeli Jews over questions of religious practice.

Azaria, 38, adapts her Orthodox Judaism to Israeli secular life. Since March 2015, she has represented the center-left Kulanu party and has been described as the only member of Israel’s 66-member coalition government willing to challenge the ultra-Orthodox monopoly in determining family rights issues and issues of religion and state.