On Friday, former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked posted on Facebook a few of her pictures sitting by a lake in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, accompanied by the casual text: “Shabbat Shalom from the Canadian Rockies. Just a reminder that a woman can do anything, even go on a trip, be a mother, lead a party, be a mayor, a CEO, and even head of state.”
The casual text was Shaked’s rebuttal to Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, whose sweet manner and French accent often makes his listeners forget that he represents an extreme-Haredi line with questionable notions regarding Israeli society. He announced, for instance, that the Notre-Dame de Paris fire last April could divine retribution for the 1242 burning of the Talmud. And just last week, he declared that “women do not belong in the whirlwind of politics,” for a zillion reasons which are well anchored in medieval etiquette (our Talmudic sages admired some powerful women, feared some, condemned others).
On Sunday, Kippa quoted sources who spoke to Shaked in the Rockies and assert that the only way she would join a religious-Zionist / Rightwing Knesset slate ahead of the September 17 elections, would be if all five parties are included. Presumably, those five parties include Otzma Yehudit, with its Kahane-was-right agenda (he wasn’t wrong); as well as former Shas chairman Eli Yishai who has fallen from grace with his old party and has failed twice to cross the threshold vote. The other contenders in Shaked’s coalition would be Habayit Hayehudi with Tekumah (Smotrich), New Right, founded by herself and Naftali Bennett last winter, and Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut.
This may be a correct view of the religious Zionist right’s best path to capturing a substantial portion of the votes, but disagreements, not to say in-fighting, among the five potential partners are disheartening. At present it appears that Habayit Hayehudi chairman Rabbi Rafi Peretz refuses to run with Otzma Yehudit; Bennett and Feiglin are entangled in a struggle to lead their combined parties; and no one wants to let Shaked assume the leadership of the faction, despite the fact that she is the only true crossover star in the bunch (Feiglin thought he was – he was wrong).
One poll showed this combination winning 19 seats, but it included 507 respondents with more than 4.5% inaccuracy, which rendered it meaningless. But the slate can hope for 10 to 12 seats if it manages to avoid infighting, presents an exciting platform, doesn’t spare PM Netanyahu’s feelings about his own impending day of judgement, and, yes, puts Ayelet on top.