Former Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard on Monday endorsed the leader of the Zionist Spirit party Ayelet Shaked, admitting that she had made mistakes in the recent past but insisting that she is still a crucial member of the Israel right-wing bloc.
In a video message, Pollard announced:
“Because of my unqualified love of this country, and my dedication to her survival and wellbeing, I must now endorse someone who I know will serve Israel in a way that will safeguard both our core interests and our honor.
“That person is Ayelet Shaked.
“Yes, she exhibited misplaced loyalty in our last government. But I truly believe that she realizes the mistake that she made and will not repeat her error.
“We need her now, free and clear of the bad influences that hurt both her personal reputation and her political credibility.
“We all make errors in judgment. The difference is between those of us who refuse to acknowledge such errors and those of us who recognize their errors and commit never to repeat them.
“I believe that Ayelet Shaked is just such a person, and deserves to be given an opportunity to continue being part of Israel’s leadership.
“At this difficult and dangerous time in our history, we need and deserve a proven patriot like Ayelet Shaked.”
For the record, Shaked told News12 a few weeks ago that she had one regret: relying on a non-Zionist party (Ra’am).
She had no regrets about serving alongside some serious anti-Zionist MKs in the left-wing Jewish parties, and did not promise to join a right-wing coalition party should she manage to get into the next Knesset. In fact, she says she wants to again form a “broad” coalition which includes the parties on the left.
Pollard’s unexpected endorsement (he has remained a-political since his arrival from the US in late 2020), comes at a time when Shaked’s Zionist Spirit has been failing consistently to cross the 3.25% minimum vote threshold.
Another party that’s been lingering behind in a similar fashion is HaBayit Hayehudi which Shaked and Bennett abandoned back in 2019 to establish the New Right party which later morphed into the Yamina party. Maariv reported Tuesday morning that there may be a shidduch, God willing, between the two, in time for the deadline for submitting party lists, in two and a half weeks.
Habayit Hayehudi is currently led by Giv’at Shmuel Mayor Yossi Brodny, a former Likud member (in Israel, carpetbagging is an athletic event sponsored by Samsonite).
Brodny, who is a complete unknown outside Giv’at Shmuel and portions of nearby Petah Tikvah, is demanding two out of the top four seats should marriage be announced.
It’s not clear why Pollard decided to endorse Shaked. A few months ago, he attacked viciously in an op-ed in Yedioth Aharonoth the Lapid-Bennett government, in which Shaked is serving as Interior Minister, over what he described as its lackluster treatment of terrorists.
Rumor had it that Pollard was also considered for a slot on Itamar Ben Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit’s election slate, as well as by the Likud. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was very invested in obtaining his release and pleaded with then President Donald Trump to let him make Aliyah.
Of course, it’s always possible that the endorsement came out of a sincere wish to see Shaked remain in right-wing politics, in which case, I endorse her, too. She was the best Justice Minister we’ve ever had.