Former Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked Takes Helm of Party She Founded With Bennett, Urges Right Wing to Join Forces

Shaked urges parties to the right of Netanyahu's Likud to join forces as she takes leadership of Hayemin Hahadash

Ayelet Shaked announces that she is taking the no. 1 slot on Hayemin Hehadash's slate on July 21, 2019.
Moti Milrod

Former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked announced on Sunday that she will spearhead Hayamin Hehadash (The New Right) – the party she founded together with Naftali Bennett that failed to pass the electoral threshold in April's election.

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Calling on parties to the right of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud to join forces, Shaked said they must put their differences aside. "A union is the ideological right wing's insurance certificate," she said. "Together, under my leadership, we'll become  a significant and powerful force that will lead the State of Israel with courage and faith."  

Shaked added that she "wants to open the door for many women, and I'm asking your help today to do so." 

She vowed that her party will "present before you a clear leadership. With personal and political courage, my partner Naftali Bennett chose to renounce his no. 1 spot, but not his place at the fore of the party's leadership."

Shaked further said: "We've done a lot over the past few years. After 40 years in which the right was in power, but the left was the one that governed, we've proven in the past four years, in the Justice Ministry and Education Ministry, in the Knesset and the cabinet, that if the right wants to, it too can govern."

Bennett, who spoke before Shaked, said: "Half  a year ago, we established Hayemin Hadash for Israelis who yearn for a right-wing party that unites religious and secular, ultra-Orthodox and observant, for Israelis who want a worthy and idealistic right, a right that governs and doesn't only shout. A right that is willing to fight against the most powerful forces in the Israeli economy, to make life easier for all of Israel's citizens.

"As you all know, I took full responsibility for the April election's outcome, which I'm also doing now. Because for unity, one must make some personal concessions," Bennett said. 

Shaked and Bennett met on Saturday night to discuss their next steps, the question of who would lead the list and whether their slate would join forces with other parties.

Bennett said later on Sunday that "the country is more important than one person's advancement, and the country now need a unified right."

The two split from the Habayit Hayehudi party ahead of the last election, establishing a new party, but 1,500 votes kept them from entering the Knesset.

Last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Shaked and Bennett from their posts as justice and education ministers, respectively.