The 'Ayelet Shaked Show' is going on tour - analysis

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked is working hard to make her presence felt and remain as relevant as ever.

Ayelet Shaked at a Knesset press conference. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Ayelet Shaked at a Knesset press conference.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Undaunted by false accusations about her English abilities after the Jerusalem Post Conference, Ayelet Shaked will be taking her show on the road to New York and Washington in three weeks.

The reason for her visit is to deal with visa issues for Israelis entering the United States. She told a group of right-wingers from Brooklyn visiting the Knesset on Monday that she would also advance the interests of Judea and Samaria while she is in town.

But another major reason for the visit is to continue to make her presence felt and remain as relevant as ever.

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu called her blitz on three simultaneous network newscasts “a show,” and she would admit to that. But he also called her TV appearances “hysteria,” and she would say that designation cannot be further from the truth.

Shaked’s media presence is methodically planned out and is all part of her strategy to provide the right-wing balance to Labor and Meretz on the Left in their efforts to sway Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his government.

 Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked is seen speaking at the Jerusalem Post annual conference at the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, on October 12, 2021. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV) Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked is seen speaking at the Jerusalem Post annual conference at the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, on October 12, 2021. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

On the one hand, Shaked has an advantage over Labor and Meretz leaders and all other ministers, because she has Bennett’s ear. They speak every day on the phone and meet every Friday at the Prime Minister’s Office in Tel Aviv. After a successful meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Shaked was the first minister Bennett called to be updated from Sochi.

But on the other hand, the left-wing ministers have like-minded media outlets in which they can publicly promote their agenda, while Shaked has none.

She was particularly irked by a critical column in Friday’s Haaretz newspaper that portrayed her as “high maintenance,” “sprinkling spikes and daggers along the coalition’s path,” and “making Bennett’s life miserable.”

That was why she chose to vigorously deny the lie that her days in Bennett’s coalition are numbered herself in her own voice on three channels, hammering through the message to make sure no one would miss it.

And she will continue to hammer away as the months go on. Bennett’s associates said he is not bothered by it. He needs the world to understand the pressure he is under. Having her as his bad cop inside the government makes the international community realize what a good cop he is.

Asked at Monday’s Yesh Atid faction meeting whether Shaked is rocking the boat too much, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said: “I don’t think so. There are issues on which she thinks differently than us, and that is her prerogative. I think I work well with her.”

When asked to respond to Shaked saying that she would enable him to become prime minister when his rotation with Bennett is set to take place “if the government is run well,” Lapid said: “The government is run well. I have no need to worry about the people I work with.”

Shaked was repeatedly asked on all three channels how she would handle the rotation. Those questions will only intensify as the date for the proposed change in the Prime Minister’s Office gets closer.

And that attention plays right into Shaked’s hands. She wants the ratings for the “Ayelet Shaked Show” to keep going up.