Ayelet Shaked: 'Noam Campaign - just like Secular Forum'

Yemina Chairwoman responds to religious Zionism, Noam attacks against her, proposals for measures to combat Netanyahu siphoning votes.

Shimon Cohen,

Ayelet Shaked
Ayelet Shaked
Flash 90

Yemina Chairwoman former Minister Ayelet Shaked referred in an interview with Arutz Sheva to the political world rallying for elections, confrontation with the Likud, the 'Noam' campaign directed at her, and the revelations about News 13's attempt to besmirch the Otzem Mechina headed by Rabbi Rafi Peretz.

"This is a blood libel that is part of the Secular Forum's campaign in recent years to cherry-pick excerpts from Torah lessons to blacken all religious Zionism," says Shaked, convinced that "this story started since we became a significant force. Since Bennett was in the Education Ministry and I in the Justice Department, forces on the extreme Left decided to discredit and weaken religious Zionism. And what was done to Rabbi Naumburg is the lowest of the low. They took a decent and honest citizen and turned him into the enemy of the people while he was completely innocent."

In her remarks, Shaked ties the campaign to blacken pre-military prep academies of religious Zionism with "the incitement campaign that's been here in recent years. Liberman and Blue and White decided it's worthwhile to exclude the religious, and therefore announced that they'd establish a secular government and turned Rabbi Rafi into an enemy.

"Taking parts of Torah lessons and taking words out of context is a distortion of reality. What Noam is doing from the other side is the same thing. For me, Noam and the Secular Forum are the same thing. They're doing exactly the same thing," Shaked says, refusing to address the Noam campaign directed against her "because it's a dirty and fraudulent smear campaign."

To this, she adds, that Noam will waste a few thousand votes and this could be the difference between a Right-leaning government and a Leftist government. When asked what she believes drives the Right to political and party splits while the Left presents the reverse image and their vote flows towards medium and large parties that do not risk the electoral threshold, Shaked replies: "It's a matter of responsibility. On the Left there's more responsibility. A party that doesn't pass the percentage in the polls has no chance that on election day, when votes drain towards big parties, it will pass. It's a chance that doesn't exist so they should act responsibly and withdraw."

As for Yemina itself, the party seems to be in a hurry and has no choice but to recommend Netanyahu who knows this well and therefore focuses his efforts on the strongholds of religious Zionism, visits Hevron and Elkana, guarantees sovereignty, and more. At the end of the day, religious Zionist voices from Yemina will be drawn to the Likud. Does Yemina have any way to deal with these moves?

"I sincerely hope that the public has learned the lesson and that public memory isn't so short and that the public will understand that because of Netanyahu's previous vote-siphoning, the government wasn't a Right-leaning government. I'll tell you that on Friday before the previous elections, I called the Prime Minister's people and told them 'you're doing the same trick again and in the end none of the parties will pass the threshold and there'll be no coalition." They told me, "You're right but that's what he decided to do."

She adds, "The whole 'biggest party' thing is one big bluff. In 2009, Netanyahu got fewer seats than Livni, but he put together the government because he had more recommendations. What matters is the amount of recommendations and not the size of the party."

And yet, we asked if her party intends to take a step such as that suggested by Moti Karpel in a Makor Rishon article, to make it clear to Netanyahu that if Yemina doesn't get the ten seats currently predicted in the polls, she won't recommend him, a statement that could bring Netanyahu to reconsider siphoning votes.

"We do what's right for the campaign. The public understands that without a strong Yemina there won't be a Right-leaning government. The wholesale market in Hevron can be taken as an example. Netanyahu came to Hevron, got from me on a silver platter as Justice Minister the wholesale market in Hevron. We solved a legal dead-end with the encouragement and push of Orit Struck. All he needed to do was approve the market. It won't happen if you don't have a strong Yemina. The public must understand this and understand that voting for us is on two ballots, we'll also recommend Netanyahu and be a Right government and also be a true Right government. Netanyahu doesn't hide that he'll turn to Peretz and Gantz. His associates say he learned the lesson from the previous election and won't leave last-minute negotiations and rely on a Rightist government.

As for the day after the election, she was asked if her party would remain united both in coalition negotiations and the day after, and she replies: "We're negotiating together. We come as one very cohesive body and then we'll see. There are different opinions. We'll see the results of the elections. I think this unity is important."

At the end of the interview with her, we asked Shaked on a personal level whether she was hurt by the existence of the religious Zionist debate about the legitimacy of placing her at the top of the list as a secular woman. "No. This honors the sector that a majority of whom wanted me to lead this list. It is legitimate to have other voices, but all-in-all they treat me with respect it and I think it's a certificate of honor for religious Zionism that supports my leadership, the first time in history that a woman leads a Rightist party."