Ayelet Shaked, member of the HaBayit HaYehudi (The Jewish Home) Party, has been appointed Justice Minister by Prime Minister Netanyahu. She is a former Knesset member, where her reputation is stellar despite just being there for two years.
Why? During her Knesset membership, Ms. Shaked pushed for passage of an amendment that would limit the – in her words – “leftist” High Court of Justice’s power, while supporting the “Jewish State Law,” deemed controversial by the very same “leftists.” The Jewish State Law would legalize Israel’s status as a Jewish state! She also supported another controversial measure: a ban on public transportation during Shabbat. On the other hand, she played a key role in passing a law ending military service exemptions for haredim. “The Left does not like her because too often she speaks her mind and tells the truth. To the Left, this is a flaw,” says Jack Engelhard, a prominent writer.
Who is Ayelet Shaked, this devoted Jew and Zionist? The 39-year-old brunette beauty (she was named the best-looking female in the Knesset) is a mother of two young children and the wife of a fighter pilot. Judging by her politics and spiritual inclination, you would think she is part of a Modern Orthodox community. However, Ayelet Ben Shaul Shaked grew up in a totally secular home in north Tel Aviv, the daughter of a politically left-wing Ashkenazi mother and a Likud-voting Iraqi father. She has said that she’s been right-wing ever since she was a child. Her politics became firmly formulated during her military service, when she made friends with many religious nationalists.
She’s seen as a poster child for The Jewish Home’s efforts to reach beyond its Orthodox base. She has also been helpful in the settler movement’s effort to overcome stereotypes of settlers and their supporters as being “religious, gun-toting fanatics.”
At Tel Aviv University she obtained a BSc in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and began her career in the Tel Aviv hi-tech industry, working as a software engineer at Texas Instruments and later moving on to become manager of its marketing department.
During her army service, Ayelet Ben Shaul served as an instructor in the Israel Defense Forces’ elite Golani Brigade. (By the way, in 2012, she was included in the Globes list of the 50 most influential women.)
Then, wife, mother, military-instructor, computer-engineer Ayelet Shaked entered politics. What party appealed to the highly intelligent secular young woman? The Jewish Home, what else? The Jewish Home’s fierce right-wing Zionism combined with passionate Judaism drew her to it.
After working as Netanyahu’s office director for two years, Ayelet Shaked ran for the Knesset with The Jewish Home, with stunning results.
And now she is Israel’s new Minister of Justice. I pray that the G-d of Israel protect her from the numerous death-threats issued against her by her and by Israel’s enemies.