Israeli Minister Shaked Helps Strengthen Jewish Ties at Beth Jacob
On November 29th, Congregation Beth Jacob of Beverly Hills welcomed MK Ayelet Shaked, Minister of Justice of the State of Israel. When introducing Minister Shaked, Rabbi Kalman Topp pointed out that the UN voted to give the British Mandate of Palestine independent statehood on this same date, November 29th, in 1947. The evening not only celebrated this incredible anniversary, but it also celebrated the strong connection between the Jews of Israel and those in the diaspora, particularly in Los Angeles.
Minister Shaked is an activist, computer engineer, and serves as one of Israel’s most active and influential legislators. A member of the Knesset for Bayit Yehudi (the Jewish Home party) since 2013, and Minister of Justice since 2015, Shaked established the My Israel (Israel Sheli) extra-parliamentary movement with Naftali Bennett in 2010, which she led until May of 2012. She initiated and drafted laws that include Israel’s 2016 NGO law, its comprehensive law against terrorism, a version of the basic law proposal on Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, and a law limiting the powers of the Israeli Supreme Court.
Despite the heavy rain, many people showed up to hear the young, charismatic Kenesset minister speak. The evening, sponsored by Arutz Sheva International News, among others, kicked off with Beth Jacob Congregational President Jess Dolgin presenting Beverly Hills Mayor Dr. Julian Gold with the Shomer Israel (the Guardian of Israel) award.
The event, originally scheduled for November 27th, needed postponement due to the volatile political situation in Israel. “After the minister of defense decided to leave the government,” Shaked commented, “we were left with a government with 51 out of 127 members…but, actually, we managed.”
Minister Shaked went on to say, “As you know, the State of Israel is facing an ever-growing threat in the form of Iran and its proxies. Hezbollah in the northern border, Hamas in the southern border…pro-Iranian forces in Syria. In this difficult situation, the United States has made it clear that is has our back not just militarily, but morally. The United States, under the leadership of President Donald Trump, did what it never did before: It moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It finally recognized ir hakodesh, the city of holiness, as the permanent and undivided center of Jewish national life. In addition, the administration shut down the PLO offices in Washington. They have taken many other steps. All of these steps add up to the statement, ‘Israel is here to stay!’”
Shaked feels that American Jewry ought to stay here, as opposed to making aliyah. “I think Jewry in the United States are a strategic asset to Israel. One of the reasons that Israel coexists in the Middle East—it is truly a miracle—is Jewry in the United States.”
Though from a secular background, the justice minister decided to join forces with the Dati Leumi in joining the Bayit Yehudi party. “We decided to join together with the Jewish Home because we believe that Orthodox and secular can work together in politics, as long as we share the same values.”
When Rabbi Topp asked Minister Shaked if Israel can exist as both a democratic and a Jewish state, she replied, “I don’t think that one value contradicts the other. There was the illegal immigration wave of Africa two years ago, and definitely we decided to put an end to it. We want to keep the covenant of the state as a Jewish state, and Israel can’t be the solution for unemployment in Africa.”
During the question-and-answer session, Minister Shaked illustrated her goal of moving Israel’s judicial system in a more conservative direction. “I had the opportunity to be responsible for the nomination of six Supreme Court judges,” she proudly declared, “so, your president has a way to go!”
Minister Shaked, who told Rabbi Topp that she would rather do her job than that of the prime minister, ended the evening on a strong, positive note: “We’re a nation of innovation. With innovation and creativity, we must find a way to unite at this time and face our enemies as one nation, under G-d, with liberty and justice for all.”