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The 'Bennett and Shaked' brand: Israel's political stars fall to earth

Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked thought their New Right party would further their already substantial political success, but instead they find themselves in "total shock" over not surpassing the Knesset vote threshold.
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett (R) and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, from the Jewish Home party, enter the room before delivering their statements in Tel Aviv, Israel December 29, 2018. REUTERS/Corinna Kern - RC1ACF62D4E0
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Internal polls commissioned by Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked before they formed the New Right party last December failed to give them the slightest indication that they might fail to pass the vote threshold to enter the Knesset. In fact, the findings seemed to indicate just the opposite. The polls showed that the “Bennett and Shaked” brand had a hardcore base of four seats comprised of ardent supporters who would follow them to whatever party they chose. The general assessment was that they would walk away from the April 9 elections with 8-10 seats. In reality, the New Right suffered a devastating defeat at the ballot box.

There can be no doubt that Shaked and Bennett were the tragic heroes of this past election because they were at the height of their political activism when they fell. They were two hardworking young ministers with an agenda who labored tirelessly at their respective ministries, him at Education and her at Justice. Their seats on the Security Cabinet gave them status and power, and it looked like they would be with us for many long years to come.

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