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Ayelet Shaked

(1976 - )

Ayelet Shaked was born Ayelet Ben Shaul in Tel Aviv, to an upper-middle-class family. Her mother was Ashkenazi (whose family immigrated from Russia in the 1880s) and politically left wing; her father was an Iraqi Jew and voted Likud. She grew up in the Bavli neighbourhood of Tel Aviv. She identified her views as right-wing at the age of 8 years old, after watching a television debate between Yitzhak Shamir and Shimon Peres, where she supported Shamir. She served in the IDF as an infantry instructor in the Golani Brigade. At Tel Aviv University, she obtained a BSc in electrical engineering and computer science. She began her career in the Tel Aviv high-tech industry, working as a software engineer at Texas Instruments, later becoming manager of marketing at Texas Instruments.

Politically, her views are considered right-wing. She opposes the creation of a Palestinian state, supports the expansion of settlements, and advocates Israeli annexation of the West Bank.

From 2006 to 2008, she was office director for the office of Benjamin Netanyahu. From 2010 to 2012, she established My Israel with Naftali Bennett. From the end of 2011, she campaigned against illegal immigration from Africa to Israel, saying that it poses a threat to the state and also involves severe economic damage. She also campaigned against Galei Tzahal saying it had a "left leaning agenda".

In January 2012 Shaked was elected to serve as the coordinator of Likud; however, in June 2012 she resigned. On November 14, 2012 she took third place in the Knesset party primaries, and after their joining with HaIhud HaLeumi she was placed in the fifth spot in the joint register for elections for the 19th Knesset. The Bayit Yehudi list won 12 seats, and Shaked became the only secular Member of Bayit Yehudi in the Knesset.

In the 19th Knesset she was a member of the following committees: Economic Affairs, House Committee, Committee on Foreign Workers and the Finance Committee. She chaired the Knesset committee for the Enforcement of the Security Service Law and the National-Civilian Service Law and the Special Committee for the Equal Sharing of the Burden Bill. She served as the head of the Knesset Lobby for Infiltrators, the Lobby for Israeli Literature and the Encouragement of Reading in Israel and the Lobby for Jonathan Pollard. She served as a member of the Lobby to Promote the Employment of Arab Women Academics, the Lobby for Female Knesset Members, Lobby for Equality in Employment, Lobby for Reserve Soldiers, the Lobby for alliances with Christians, the Lobby for the Hi-Tech Industry in Israel, and others.

Bayit Yehudi won 8 seats in the elections to the 20th Knesset and Netanyahu appointed Shaked as Justice Minister.

In the April 2019 Knesset elections, Bayit Yehudi narrowly failed to cross the electoral threshold; as a result, Shaked did not gain a seat in the 21st Knesset. In June 2019, Netanyahu dismissed Shaked from the government. When a new election was called for September 2019, Shaked became the leader of the United Right (Yamina) Party which won 7 seats. For the second time, however, Netanyahu was unable to form a government and a new election was held in March 2020. Though Netanyahu formed a coalition deal to establish a government, it quickly fell when it was unable to pass a budget..

The fourth election in three years was held on March 23, 2021. Yamina again won 7 seats and new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett appointed Shaked to serve as Interior Minister.

Shaked recruited two former members of the New Hope Party, Yoaz Hendel and Tzvi Hauser, to form a new Zionist Spirit Party just before the party lists were due for the 2022 election, but the partnership collapsed because of a disagreement over whether to join a government led by Netanyahu. Shaked was willing but the others weren’t. With her chance of passing the electoral threshold imperiled, Shaked rejoined HaBayit HaYehudi as its leader.

She is married with two children and lives in Bavli. Her husband is a former fighter pilot. She is secular. She campaigns for women's rights and for the integration of women into the military.

Shaked is the recipient of the Abramowitz Israeli Prize for Media Criticism. In 2012, she was included in the Globes list of the 50 most influential women. In 2015, the magazine Forbes Israel ranked Shaked as the 5th most prominent woman in Israel. 

Sources: Ayelet Shaked,” Knesset.
“Talks with a Tel Aviv Settler,” Haaretz, (June 22, 2012).
“Meet the most surprising candidate of ‘Jewish Home,’” NRG, (November 26, 2012).
Moran Azulay, “Netanyahu gives Bayit Yehudi’s Shaked the Justice Ministry, but with limited powers,” Ynetnews, (May 6, 2015);,
“In the 11th hour, Netanyahu finalizes 61-strong coalition,” Times of Israel, (May 6, 2015).
Jeffery Heller, “Netanyahu clinches deal to form new Israeli government,” Reuters, (May 6, 2015).
Ayelet Shaked, “Exposing militant leftist propaganda,” Jerusalem Post, (July 18, 2014).
Ali Abunimah, “Israeli lawmaker’s call for genocide of Palestinians gets thousands of Facebook likes,” Electronic Intifada, (July 7, 2014) ;
Julie Wiener, “Who is Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s new justice minister?” Jewish Telegraph Agency (May 7, 2014).
Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel’s new justice minister considers all Palestinians to be ‘the enemy,’” Washington Post, (May 7, 2014).
Siobhan O’Grady, “The New Face of Israel’s Hard Right,” Foreign Policy, (May 7, 2014).
“Israeli Politician Declares ‘War’ on ‘the Palestinian People’“. Haaretz.
Herb Keinon, “Netanyahu finally calls out Erdogan for anti-Semitic statements,” Jerusalem Post, (July 20, 2014).
Yoel Meltzer, “An Interview with Ayelet Shaked, Secular Candidate for HaBayit HaYehudi,” Jerusalem Post, (August 15, 2012).
“Ayelet Shaked,” Wikipedia.
Eliav Breuer, “Is the Shaked-Bennett era over?” Jerusalem Post, (September 12, 2022).

Photo: Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 2 via Wikimedia Commons.