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
Why Qatar Is a Problematic Ally
On September 14, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his Qatari counterpart met and signed an agreement on cultural exchange, followed by an official statement from Foggy Bottom about “shared ideas of tolerance.” Since then, there have also been reports that the U.S. is considering awarding the peninsular monarchy the status of a major non-NATO ally, and even that Doha will be next in line to normalize its relations with Israel. The fact remains, however, that the Qatari educational system is rife with anti-Semitic indoctrination. Moreover, argues Efraim Inbar, it would be strategically foolish for Washington to reward Qatar with upgraded relations: