Ayelet Shaked appointed party leader, seeks united right-wing bloc

The former justice minister announced at a press conferences Sunday she will serve as chairwoman of the New Right party, with ally Naftali Bennett stepping aside to make way for her leadership.

By World Israel News Staff and JNS

Confirming reports circulating in the Israeli media, Ayelet Shaked made an official announcement on Sunday evening that she will serve as party leader for the New Right faction.

This development represents a new direction for the party, which failed to cross the electoral threshold in April elections following a campaign led by Naftali Bennett.

Bennett introduced Shaked at a Sunday press conference during which she made the announcement, calling on other right wing parties to come together under Shaked’s leadership prior to the next round of elections in September.

During the announcement, Shaked commented that until now “there had been no party led by a woman” competing in the upcoming elections.

The results of a Channel 12 poll released on Sunday reveal that an alliance between Shaked’s New Right party and the Union of Right-Wing Parties (UWRP), with Shaked serving as leader, could garner 12-13 seats in the Knesset.

Whether or not embattled UWRP head Rafi Peretz will cede leadership of such a faction to Shaked remains to be seen.

Shaked’s announcement arrived just 10 days before all political parties must announce their slates for the upcoming Sept. 17 national election.

“I prefer if we create a [moderate] right-wing bloc with one leader, and have another leader at the head of another religious hardal [religious nationalist] party, which is the Union of Right-Wing Parties,” Bennett told Channel 12 news in an interview broadcast Saturday.

Shaked has apparently met with Peretz, but allegedly stopped short of openly asserting interest in his slot, according to a URWP source quoted by Ynet.