She was the wunderkind of Israeli politics. Just on the other side of 40, she was already being tagged as a future female prime minister, the second in Israel’s history. Ayelet Shaked, who served as Israel’s justice minister for the past four years, was sharp as a knife. She shook up Israel’s judiciary, moving it sharply to the right without paying a public or political price.
Shaked melted the hearts of her ideological enemies, and successfully maneuvered two chief justices of the Supreme Court — the incumbent Esther Hayut and her predecessor Miriam Naor. Her photo graced the covers of dozens of magazines, websites and newspapers. She became a fashion icon and her path to the top of Israel’s politics appeared assured. Almost without anyone noticing, in her popularity she overtook her veteran partner and leader of their joint party, Naftali Bennett. When the two decided in December 2018 to break away from HaBayit HaYehudi, they formed the New Right party and led it as co-chairs. Contrary to their positioning in HaBayit HaYehudi, Bennett was no longer first, with Shaked second. Both were in the pilot’s seat and the sky seemed the limit.