Ayelet Shaked to Arutz Sheva:
'Likud working against us instead of increasing Right bloc'

Yamina Chair relates to Right infighting: 'Goal is double-digit number of seats; who will be senior partners in next government.'

Yoni Kempinski ,

Arutz Sheva

The day after the launch of the Yamina party campaign, list chair Ayelet Shaked is looking ahead, but keeps the cards close to her on most domestic political issues.

Shaked does not guarantee that the list will continue to work together after the elections. "We are united as a technical bloc and each party retains its identity. The Jewish Home is a party of religious Zionism and so is Tekuma. The New Right is not a religious party. We work together, run for elections together, conduct coalition negotiations together and then we will see.

"We really embody all the beauty and goodness of religious Zionism. If you look at the first four on the list, it is very nice. I represent the secular ideological Right, Rabbi Rafi Peretz represents a particular stream in religious Zionism, Betzalel Smotrich represents a different stream and Bennett a different stream from them both. We were able to form a true partnership and we are in good relationship with each other. There is no one of the religious Zionism or the ideological Right who cannot find a home with us," she adds.

To the question whether her ambition is that the Right-leaning parties will continue to work together even after the election, she replies, "We will wait for the elections and see."

Asked about Naftali Bennett's status on the list and if it is true that he is destined to receive the senior ministry position she answers, but prefers not to go into details: "I really hope we get a lot of seats. When we know how many seats we'll get, we'll sit down together and decide what ministries we want and what we demand. We're not all interested in the same portfolios and don't compete with each other."

Shaked does not rule out a return to the Justice Department. "I definitely think that if we get enough seats and all religious Zionism will be behind us, it's possible."

To achieve this status, Shaked is trying to strengthen the party in the face of the Likud. "The Prime Minister wouldn't threaten to dismiss haredi ministers or Liberman. They take religious Zionism for granted. Politics is just a matter of power and we have to have power."

In the meantime, she says, the Likud is biding its time to and firing within their own camp: "The Likud from the very beginning started campaigning against us and I don't understand why. The effort should be to establish a Right-leaning government and increase the bloc so that we have 61 seats. At the moment, what's preventing that is the wastage of votes from parties that don't pass the electoral threshold: Zehut and Otzma. I urge all Right-leaning voters to show responsibility. We are in a very challenging time and should only vote for parties that will clearly pass the electoral threshold."

She explains why a partnership with Blue and White is not an option: "There are three people over there who consider themselves Right and the rest are clearly Leftists. Benny Gantz is a man of the Left and not a man of the Right."

In the past day, Likud attacked Shaked, claiming that as Justice Minister she could have changed things to prevent incidents that irritate the Right-voting public, such as preventing the gender-separate performance in Afula.

"These are hollow claims," ​​Shaked replies. "I appointed 334 judges out of 800 and 40% of the Supreme Court. I see a significant change in Supreme Court rulings and in lower courts as well. Second, I transferred the authority on the gender issues from Dina Zilber to Gila Gamaliel's office and she has the authority. I sat with the Attorney General several times and he completely agrees with me that separation is not exclusion.

"The report on which the judge based is a document from Tzipi Livni's time as Justice Minister. This is a document the government never accepted. Allegations should be directed to Netanyahu who appointed her for the position," Shaked says.

She points out that quite a few people in the non-religious community understand that the ruling is wrong. "Precisely he who is a liberal secular should understand how wrong this ruling is. A liberal person does not impose his way of life on another. Just as I don't want to go to a show that's segregated, the haredim don't have to go to a mixed show.

"If they do not have the opportunity attend with separation, they won't attend cultural events. This is great discrimination against the haredi public not to allow them to see a cultural performance as they wish. Bennett, as Education Minister and I, as Justice Minister, worked extensively to facilitate separation in academics, despite enormous opposition. Because if there were no separate studies in academics, the haredim won't go out to study. Our interest as a State is that the economy needs the haredim in the labor market and needs them to come out to study."

And what are the plans for the future? "At the moment, my goal is that we get a double-digit number of seats and become the most senior partners in Netanyahu's next government. I'm talking about the most senior ministries and we have more ambitions to put our hands on the wheel and lead the country together with Netanyahu," Shaked concludes.