After failing to form a government after April’s elections, Israel is getting ready for a second round of voting on September 17. Becoming more significant among the large roster of political players is Ayelet Shaked, newly announced as the leader of the United Right, a combined list of political factions representing Israel’s religious-Zionist community. That in itself is surprising. As Sam Sokol writes, “While women have led Israeli political parties, none has ever risen to the pinnacle of political power in a bloc representing the traditionally patriarchal Orthodox community.” Not only that, but Shaked is herself secular.
How a Secular Woman from Tel Aviv Rose to the Top of Israel’s National-Religious Political Bloc
Hamas Is Winning the War for Palestinian, and Israeli Arab, Hearts and Minds
While many in the West seem to think the current fighting in Israel is about housing policy, or human rights, or the selective blockade of the Gaza Strip, the rhetoric of Palestinian leaders and on Palestinian social media makes clear that it is in fact about al-Aqsa mosque. This should come as no surprise: fabricated claims that “al-Aqsa is in danger” have been used to provoke anti-Jewish violence for a hundred years. In this particular case, explains Haviv Rettig Gur, both Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party exploited the claim in their rivalry for Palestinian hearts and minds: