The other day, a friend of mine noted that “Shaked has ‘united’ the right the same way she ‘reformed’ the justice system.” Which is to say, she did neither, but she keeps claiming that she did both. And it might be funny, but Ayelet Shaked just isn’t a laughing matter any more.
Ayelet Shaked will go down in history, unless we’re very lucky, as the woman who destroyed the right wing in Israel.
It’s hard to know whether she’s doing it on purpose or whether she’s blind to her actions. Or whether her naked ambition to be prime minister makes it impossible for her to see how destructive she’s being.
She and Naftali Bennett took over the National Religious Party, renamed it Jewish Home, and when they were done with it, they abandoned it to create the New Right, which didn’t pass the threshold despite starting off with double digits in the polls. After which she announced that she was leaving politics. But then she suddenly returned, just in time to stop Naftali Bennett from making a technical bloc with Moshe Feiglin, and now she’s essentially reassembled the Jewish Home party (with the addition of authoritarian Rafi Peretz), and is trying to con the Israeli public into thinking she’s united the right.
It’s clear that the “United Right” is neither united, nor particularly right.
She did an interview a couple of days ago in which she claimed that having liberals and authoritarians on her “United Right” list will attract both liberals and authoritarians. Leaving aside the ridiculous claim that they have liberals on their list – when the only liberal things about Bennett and Shaked are items they cribbed from the Zehut Party’s platform and have used as talking points, with neither an understanding of what they were parroting, nor any intent to carry them out – that’s simply not the way it works.
If you’re an authoritarian, would you rather vote for a party that embraces its authoritarianism, like Otzma Yehudit, or would you rather vote for a party that dilutes its authoritarianism with liberals? Why would a hard line Nationalist Haredi supporter who likes people like Rafi Peretz and Betzalel Smotrich want a party led by a secular woman?
If you’re a liberal, would you rather vote for a party that embraces its liberalism, like the Zehut Party, or would you rather vote for a party that dilutes its faux-liberalism with authoritarians? Why would a person who believes in liberty and the right of the individual to control his own life want a party led in part by Betzalel Smotrich, who has publicly called for Israel to be run according to Jewish law, and by Rafi Peretz, who has expressed enthusiastic approval for the abusive quackery called “reparative therapy”?
And never mind the obvious fact that both Zehut and Otzma want sovereignty over all of the Land of Israel, while Shaked’s hybrid party is only interested in sovereignty over Area C, and that even then, Smotrich has come out enthusiastically and proudly for the plan to build more Arab homes in Area C. It’s clear that the “United Right” is neither united, nor particularly right.
Shaked is mounting a media blitz to try and convince people (by repeating it over and over and over) that voting for Otzma and Zehut is an “adventure” that will waste votes. The truth is, it seems a lot more likely that Otzma and Zehut will both get into the Knesset, while Shaked’s “United Right” drops down below the threshold the same way her “New Right” did. Let’s not forget that the New Right started in the polls at 14 seats and did nothing but fall from that point.
All Shaked is doing now is trying to dissuade people from voting for consistent right wing parties, with clear agendas, and in the case of Zehut, with a detailed platform that is open and aboveboard about everything the party wants and intends to do. She’s the single most destructive influence on the right since 1992. Hopefully people will wake up to the fact that she’s nothing more than a highly ambitious pretty face, who has accomplished nothing whatsoever in her political career.