This month the left lost its mind over Ayelet Shaked. The daughter of an Iraqi Jewish immigrant, Ayelet Shaked was an infantry instructor who worked for Israel’s elite Golani Brigade and a computer scientist who worked for Texas Instruments. Now she’s a mother of two married to a former fighter pilot.
She’s also Israel’s new Justice Minister.
The New York Times compared her to Michele Bachmann and had her quoting Ayn Rand. The Financial Times compared her to Sarah Palin. So did Italian, Spanish and Norwegian media outlets.
These analogies are not based on anything except the gender and politics of all three women. They are shorthand signals, telling liberal readers to hate Ayelet Shaked just as they hated Palin and Bachmann.
Foreign Policy dubbed her “The new face of Israel’s Hard Right” and asserted that “Ayelet Shaked makes Benjamin Netanyahu look like a liberal.” Haaretz shrieked, "Who cares if she's beautiful? Ayelet Shaked is dangerous."
The International Business Times UK called her "Israel's new right wing firebrand." "The left hates her and Netanyahu won't shake her hand," the National Post fumed. "Israeli liberals aghast at Netanyahu’s choice of justice minister," the Financial Times gasped.
Then there were photoshops of her in a Nazi uniform and Hitler analogies. Followed by death threats.
The London Times cited deranged Turkish tyrant Erdogan’s comparison of Shaked to Hitler. Considering that Erdogan is a mustachioed bellicose dictator currently campaigning to give himself unlimited powers while helping conduct genocide against the Kurds, the obvious Hitler analogy goes in the other direction.
And Erdogan might be advised that it’s not a good idea to keep throwing Hitler rocks when you live in a giant Albert Speer palace while dreaming of resurrecting a thousand-year Ottoman Empire.
"Is Ayelet Shaked planning to strangle the High Court?" the Times of Israel inquired. It’s actually the left-wing High Court that’s been strangling Israel, acting with no constitutional authority or oversight.
The left lost its mind over Ayelet Shaked’s appointment because Israel’s Supreme Court is out of control; it functions as an undemocratic institution that is not accountable to any elected officials and that invents its own laws and insists on the right to intervene in any issue no matter how large or small.
Shaked’s proposed reforms include such simple democratic measures as preventing sitting justices from effectively selecting their own members and allowing elected officials to challenge some court decisions. These are basic common sense measures that would play a crucial role in preserving Israel’s democracy.
A Court that acts as a self-perpetuating ideological institution immune to the will of the people is a fundamentally undemocratic institution. All the claims that Ayelet Shaked is a female Jewish Hitler are poor attempts at disgusting a leftist sense of undemocratic entitlement to illegitimate authority.
But as soon as the media wrapped up its Shaked tantrum, it found a new Jewish Israeli conservative woman to lose its mind over. This time it was Tzipi Hotovely.
Tzipi Hotovely is a lawyer who campaigns for women’s rights and against Islamic terrorism. She’s also the new deputy foreign minister.
Again, Hotovely was described as “right-wing”, a “hardliner” and “extreme.” She is “religious and unabashedly right-wing,” “unrepentantly hawkish” and even more insultingly, the “religious Zionist princess.” Not to mention a “racist” and “on a collision course with the international community.”
What makes Tzipi Hotovely so “unabashedly right-wing”? Like Ayelet Shaked, she holds most of the same political positions that Yitzchak Rabin once held. The most “extreme” Shaked and Hotovely quotes that the media brandishes about are still mild compared to some of Rabin’s opinions of terrorists.
Tzipi Hotovely’s crime is acknowledging that the peace process has failed miserably, that it has not produced peace and that it is structurally incapable of producing peace at any time in the future. That is already a conclusion most Israelis have come to after living through decades of violently peaceful terror.
Ayelet Shaked challenges the left’s domestic perversion of democracy. Tzipi Hotovely has called out its delusional pretense that repeating the same destructive behavior will somehow lead to better results. Both women have challenged the left’s illusions, its inversion of language and its refusal to acknowledge the difficult and unpleasant truths that must be dealt with if Israel is to be able to move forward.
The left insists that its institutional power protects democracy while the threat to democracy comes from democratically elected conservatives like Ayelet Shaked. Israeli leftists claim to be fighting for democracy by fighting against democracy. And Shaked, the daughter of a Mizrahi and Ashkenazi couple, is the living embodiment of the new Israel that the left’s old elites are so pathologically afraid of.
Netanyahu won reelection through the votes of Mizrahi Jews from Arab countries. The left responded with ugly bigoted tantrums. Ayelet Shaked infuriates them so badly because she is a successful woman who isn’t willing to be used as a puppet for their special interests the way that Moshe Kahlon is.
Tzipi Hotovely was a teenager when Rabin shook Arafat’s clammy hand in the White House Rose Garden. She came of age in an Israel where schoolchildren were constantly being told to sing peace songs and promised that this generation of soldiers would be the last. All of that proved to be a lie.
To many Israelis, that strange time became the country’s Age of Aquarius, a time when it lost touch with reality leaving a nation divided between resentful peace hippies still nursing their impossible dreams in Rabin Square and a larger populace dealing with the problems and threats that the left had created.
It’s unsurprising that Hotovely’s generation has little patience for the delusions of the left. Hers was the first generation that came of age believing the lies and was swiftly disabused of them when their classmates were being blown up on buses and in clubs. They learned about the truth the hard way.
What really frightens the left about Tzipi Hotovely and Ayelet Shaked is that they are the vanguard of a new pragmatic generation with little use for empty idealism. They believe in an Israel that is strong, because they have seen what happens when it is weak. They stand for a democratic Israel, because they have seen what happens when the left uses its institutional power to undemocratically force its way.
Both women are serious in exactly the way that Tzipi Livni, the left’s intended Foreign Minister, wasn’t. You won’t find them making fools of themselves the way that Livni did by dancing and taking selfies in a gay bar. They take their work seriously and they are there to work rather than to decorate posters. That is what the left refused to understand until it was too late. Now its spokesmen and scribblers act as if Shaked and Hotovely’s appointments were a desperate unintended accident by Netanyahu.
And maybe that was Netanyahu’s plan all along. The media’s frenzy over these two women has temporarily distracted it from him and from recognizing their competence and professionalism.
Perhaps the strangest phenomenon in Israeli politics is the media’s obsession with Sara Netanyahu; whose only crime is being married to the Prime Minister of Israel. The media hates her even more than they hate her husband leading to bizarre stories that accuse her of drinking champagne all day and then pocketing the bottle deposits. Or controlling her husband and masterminding the country’s politics.
The Israeli media’s weakness for sexism may have made its response to Shaked and Hotovely predictable. And because the international media gets its stories on Israel from Haaretz, the meltdown went global.
The left whines that Shaked and Hotovely are just too dangerous to be allowed to do their jobs. And it has a point. If they were allowed to do their jobs, much of the left’s damage might finally be undone.
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