Ayelet Shaked .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Diving into foreign policy with a splash, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked advocated an alliance between Israel and the Kurdish nation on Tuesday.
Speaking at the annual Herzliya Conference, Shaked headlined a session titled “Israel’s Law and Justice,” in which in addition to speaking on those topics she also referred to foreign affairs. Although Shaked sits in the all-important security cabinet, most justice ministers do not delve into the foreign policy arena.
Shaked said that as the Middle East drawn up by European powers under the century-old Sykes-Picot Agreement breaks apart and Iran further threatens countries throughout the region, Israel has many opportunities to ally itself with moderate Arab countries.
An alliance with these moderate Arab countries could tilt the balance of power toward Israel and make it “an active, initiating, strong and dominant player,” she said.
Of these allies, “the greatest opportunity that stands before us could come from strengthening the connections with the Kurdish nation, who I wish to speak to,” Shaked said.
Moreover, the justice minister said, “the Jewish and Kurdish nations share a history... of mutual respect, mutual interests,” including fighting Islamic State.
Asked why a justice minister would enter the foreign affairs arena, her spokeswoman said that despite the title of the specific session, the conference’s focus was on issues of state, that Shaked is part of the government, and that in her eyes the issue is of vast strategic importance in foreign policy.
Shaked also addressed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, saying she had ordered the international divisions of the Justice Ministry to not only defend against BDS efforts, but to go on the offensive against them.
Her spokeswoman clarified that actions would relate to preventing and deterring events such as the recent pro-BDS vote by student groups in England and the comments made by the CEO of Orange about wanting to pull business out of Israel.
On the topic of law and justice, Shaked returned to her recent themes of expressing respect for the legal system’s organs, but demanding that these organs focus their efforts on the goals and values that society and its democratic representatives set for them.