A new election ad for the far-right Hayamin Hehadash party featuring Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked in sultry poses, spraying herself with a perfume labeled “Fascism,” has the look and feel of a satiric sketch, echoing the 2017 “Saturday Night Live” send-up of Ivanka Trump in a mock commercial for the scent “Complicit.”
But the Shaked ad was no send-up: The images are accompanied by the seductively whispered phrases (in Hebrew) “Judicial reform,” “Separation of powers” and “Restraining the Supreme Court” — all meant to highlight her efforts to weaken the activist courts and give more power to the legislative branch.
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Shaked then delivers the tagline to camera: “To me, it smells like democracy.”
The ad succeeded in what appears to be its goal — drawing attention to Shaked’s Hayamin Hehadash party, which is struggling in the polls. But an unintended side effect has been to leave thousands of viewers overseas confused and stunned after viewing the ad. Without understanding Hebrew — and one can’t Google Translate spoken words — it looks as if Israel’s attractive justice minister is, in fact, selling “Fascism.”
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Earlier on Monday, Shaked presented a 100-day plan for reform in the judicial system that she intends to execute if reinstated in her post in the next government. Shaked said she intends to change the way Supreme Court justices are appointed: rather than have justices chosen by the Judicial Appointments Committee, the justice minister would present a list of candidates for approval by the cabinet and the Knesset.
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Under the plan, candidates for the Supreme Court would undergo public hearings before the Knesset Constitution and Law Committee; the “override clause” allowing the Knesset to re-legislate laws that the court has invalidated would be enacted; a minister would be able represent himself in court (even in opposition to his legal counsel's opinion); and a law enabling locating committees to appoint legal counsels to the ministries would also be enacted.