Ayelet Shaked may be much younger and have a shorter resume than some prior justice ministers, such as Tzipi Livni, Yaakov Neeman and Daniel Friedman, but she is leaving a much greater mark on the post.
Staring down Supreme Court president Miriam Naor, right-wingers have credited Shaked with appointing between two and three conservative justices to the Supreme Court out of four positions to fill. This was no less than a small revolution in directing the future of the Supreme Court and taking control of it from the current justices – a point which none of the other justice ministers reached.She is also expected to appoint two more justices in 2018, at least one of whom is expected to be a conservative jurist. Last spring, she made waves publicly mentioning that she saw the prime minister’s chair as a possibility someday. How did a 41-year-old secular woman helping lead a religious Zionist party get to this point?Even her detractors credit her with being an incredibly hard-worker who sometimes just outcompetes her rivals. She is not afraid to be publicly confrontational and knows how to get media attention as well as anyone in the government.One of the only times she backed down from a confrontation was over appointing Esther Hayut to be the next chief justice when Miriam Naor steps down in October. In that case, it would not be surprising if, behind the scenes, the backing down was part of cutting the next deal for what Shaked would get in terms of 2018 Supreme Court appointments.She has not succeeded in some of her other goals, such as splitting Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit’s powers between two persons, a chief prosecutor and a chief legal adviser, but most of those goals are coalition-wide issues beyond her authority.Besides her right-wing push, Shaked has also been the most successful justice minister in advancing minority – especially female – appointments into judicial positions: including two Ethiopian female judges and a first Sharia Court female judge.How high Shaked rises may only be limited by how high her Bayit Yehudi party can rise and whether, down the road, she would be willing to bolt it for the Likud if that is her path to the premiership.
Ayelet Shaked speaks at the Cave of the Patriarchs