Friday, September 13, 2019

Dr. Adva Biton, 39, suffered the worst tragedy a parent can imagine. In 2013, Adva and three of her children were returning home from a visit to their grandmother when their car came under attack by Arab terrorists hurling stones. Adva’s little girl, Adele, was critically injured, sustaining severe head injuries. Two years later, little Adele succumbed to her injuries.
During the two years leading up to her death, all of Israel prayed for Adele. We watched for every scrap of news about Adele and about Adva, whose dedication to her daughter’s recovery seemed never to flag. She never seemed to leave her daughter’s side. Adva Biton was every Israeli mother in a dreaded situation that could have happened to any of us, God forbid. Our hearts were collectively broken in 2015, when Adele left this world.
In the run-up to the election, I wanted to know more about Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power), the far right party associated with the values of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane. I was surprised to learn that Dr. Biton was number two on the list of this party, which looks as though it will just make it over the electoral threshold. I was also surprised to learn that Adva Biton was Dr. Adva Biton, an academic in the field of medical chemistry.
I had known her only as a mother. And now it seemed she was also an academic running for Knesset. I spoke with Dr. Adva Biton to learn more:
Varda Epstein: Where were you born and raised?
Adva Biton: I was born in Beersheva and grew up in Ariel, a wonderful city in Samaria 
Varda Epstein: Can you tell us a bit about your family background? Who were your parents and grandparents?
Adva Biton: I was raised in a simple home based on the love of man and the earth. My grandparents were land workers, farmers. They found their livelihood toiling in the Land of Israel. My grandfather was a shepherd and farmer. He had a goat farm.
They raised their eight children in nature, without the noise of technology.
Varda Epstein: I see you are a PhD in medical chemistry. Can you tell us a bit about your academic career? 
Adva Biton: I come from the world of research and academics in pharmaceutical chemistry with more than 15 years of experience as a lecturer and researcher on a wide variety of medical science medical topics. My thesis dealt with DNA Photocleavage by TFO-Dye conjugates: from Mechanistic Aspects to in-vivo Applications.  
Varda Epstein: You’re the mother of a large family who suffered a terrible loss. The entire country prayed for Adele, HY”D. What is it about your life that has prepared you to run for office?
Adva Biton: Throughout my dealings with the tragedy that befell us, many channels opened up to me. I discovered abilities and skills in myself. I became a social activist, participating in forums. I took part in protests, particularly in the general Knesset committees. These things gave me the opportunity to rise and reach the Knesset. I see the Israeli Knesset as a place to advance the social agendas in which I am involved.
When a person goes through a horrible tragedy, they get up from their low place, not from a place of experience, and find something in themselves: some strength to go help and fight for others.
Adele Biton, before the tragedy

Adele Biton

Dr. Adva Biton, with Adele, HY"D
Varda Epstein: Practically speaking, what can Otzma accomplish if it makes it into the government?

Adva Biton: We can change the policy and response to terror: no tying our IDF soldiers’ hands in response to the enemy. No more five star hotel for terrorists. No more protection money to Hamas. We can change in the judicial system, which is totally corrupt. Education. Rights for divorced fathers, alienated parents, and victims of the welfare system
Varda Epstein: Some of us are thinking about voting for Otzma Yehudit for the first time but we worry about the background of some of the members, the criminal indictments and ties to mosque arson and violent price tag attacks. What can you say to reassure us that you are mature, law-abiding citizens?
Adva Biton: Itamar Ben Gvir always goes according to the law. None of our representatives have ever broken the law. Everything done in Otzma is legal. 
Price tag attacks are not representative of Otzma Yehudit. Rather, Otzma is representative of Israeli society and hopes to represent any and every Israeli citizen in the Knesset.

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