The most radical right-wing government in Israel’s history has been formed, with Netanyahu fittingly appointing Ayelet Shaked to be the next Justice Minister.
The controversial Shaked is known for her extreme views on Palestinians. In July 2014, she famously quoted an article on her Facebook page that referred to Palestinian children as “little snakes” and calling on the mothers of these children to be killed.
She posted the message shortly after the discovery of the bodies of three Israeli teens who had been kidnapped while hiking in the West Bank. It was that incident which prompted the 50-day war in which Israel almost destroyed the Gaza Strip.
The leftist site Mondoweiss offers a full translation of Shaked’s controversial posting, which quotes Elitzur, a former Netanyahu adviser, here. Some excerpts:
The Palestinian people has declared war on us, and we must respond with war. Not an operation, not a slow-moving one, not low-intensity, not controlled escalation, no destruction of terror infrastructure, no targeted killings. Enough with the oblique references. This is a war. Words have meanings. This is a war. It is not a war against terror, and not a war against extremists, and not even a war against the Palestinian Authority. These too are forms of avoiding reality. This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask them, they started…
Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. Actors in the war are those who incite in mosques, who write the murderous curricula for schools, who give shelter, who provide vehicles, and all those who honor and give them their moral support. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.
Even if these aren’t Shaked’s own words, the sentiment is noteworthy, and it reflects what critics say is the Israeli nationalist right’s widespread intolerance of the Arabs in their midst, who make up one-fifth of the Israeli population.
Bennett and Shaked’s Jewish Home party are avowed opponents of Palestinian statehood. Bennett’s proposal for settling the “Palestinian question” involves the creation of semiautonomous territories that some have likened to the bantustans of apartheid-era South Africa.
Shaked’s appointment as justice minister also has raised fears that Netanyahu’s new government will attempt to rein in the Israeli judiciary, as my colleague William Booth reports. Some are rather worried about what may follow.
“The demand to give Ayelet Shaked the Justice portfolio is like giving the Fire and Rescue Services to a pyromaniac,” opposition lawmaker Nachman Shai told the Arutz Sheva news site.
Shaked, a photogenic former tech executive, doesn’t seem too bothered about the opinions of her opponents. She once dismissed Haaretz, arguably Israel’s most internationally respected newspaper, as a publication “read by a mere 30,000 Israelis.”
After all, Shaked is about to gain a cabinet post in a climate in which an Israeli former foreign minister can call for the “beheading” of disloyal Arabs with no political cost and in which warning of Arabs “voting in droves” helped Netanyahu’s Likud party win Israel’s general election earlier this year.
“Shaked is going and taking her place in the pantheon of the extreme right,” says leftist Israeli legislator Michal Rozin, “and represents an ideology where her own racism doesn’t embarrass her.”