The Sexist Photo of Israel’s New Minister of Justice

The Sexist Photo of Israel’s New Minister of Justice

As a general rule, I try not to post anything about politics. But today I’m making an exception since I feel like a JewishMOM has been put down, and that makes me angry.

This week the newly-appointed Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked, proposed controversial legislation which was the subject of a huge headline on the cover of Israel’s largest paper, Yediot Achronot, this morning.

Left-wing Yediot doesn’t like right-wing Shaked. So next to the headline they posted a blurry, dark photo of her which makes her look like my 17-year-old daughter’s classmate.
shaked final
Yediot’s not-so-subtle message? Our new Minister of Justice, a 39-year-old mother of two, is in fact nothing but a stupid little girl!

Whether or not we see eye to eye with Ayelet Shaked politically, among those familiar with her work she is widely respected as a serious, sincere, and intelligent person and politician.

In 2012 she won the Abramowitz Israeli Prize for Media Criticism and was included in the Globes list of Israel’s 50 most influential women.
In 2013, Shaked ranked 1st as outstanding Knesset Member for the summer session by the Knesset Channel.
In 2014, Shaked ranked 2nd as outstanding Knesset Member for the winter session by the Knesset Channel.

Just because she’s a woman (and worse yet, a very pretty woman!) doesn’t mean she’s stupid or inexperienced or immature.

Here are some other photos of Shaked which would have been far more suitable choices for Yediot’s cover today…


Yediot, your choice of photo is not only inappropriate. It’s sexist. Shame on you!

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  1. Ayelet Shaked suffers from the same thing as me: She will look like a high schooler no matter what she wears.
    It’s a great thing. And also frustrating. One of the reasons why I hate wearing a sheitel – when I wear a mitpachat, at least I look like I’m a responsible young mother instead of a high school student.

  2. Yes, she is a serious, sincere, and intelligent person and politician… and she also happened to refer to palestinian children as little snakes. Makes sense.

    • JewishMom

      I hear your concern, that would be extremely troubling. But what actually happened is quite different than was portrayed in the press. Here’s a quote from wikipedia:

      In June 2014, Shaked posted an article by the late Israeli writer Uri Elitzur on Facebook.[9] The Facebook post was variously described in the media as calling Palestinian children “little snakes” and appearing to justify mass punishment of Palestinians…[15] Shaked stated that her post was portrayed falsely in the media, especially in that the article was presented as her own words rather than Elitzur’s

      • What concerns me is the way Shaked used Elitzur’s words to show her affiliation with those hostile towards Arabs. Elitzur’s words can fairly be viewed as hostile towards Arabs. When Shaked uses Elitzur’s own words with nothing but an apostrophe before it on her Facebook it reflects her subscription to Elitzur’s intolerance towards Arabs:

        “The Palestinian people has declared war on us, and we must respond with war. Not an operation, not a slow-moving one, not low-intensity, not controlled escalation, no destruction of terror infrastructure, no targeted killings. Enough with the oblique references. This is a war. Words have meanings. This is a war. It is not a war against terror, and not a war against extremists, and not even a war against the Palestinian Authority. These too are forms of avoiding reality. This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask them, they started…

        Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. Actors in the war are those who incite in mosques, who write the murderous curricula for schools, who give shelter, who provide vehicles, and all those who honor and give them their moral support. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

        • JewishMom

          Thanks for posting this, I hadn’t seen the original quote. He writes that terrorists who kill Jews are snakes, not all Palestinians.

  3. Chana Jenny, I don’t get it.
    How do you see sexism here?

    sexism definition. The belief that one sex (usually the male) is naturally superior to the other and should dominate most important areas of political, economic, and social life. Sexist discrimination in the United States in the past has denied opportunities to women in many spheres of activity.

    • JewishMom

      I’m sorry, the reason I used the word sexist never made it from my mind to my computer screen…

      I read Yediot’s headlines almost every day, so I am used to the way they criticize male politicians they don’t agree with– like PM Netanyahu. Before the elections, Yediot ran articles several times a week pointing out how Netanyahu’s policies are flawed and making things in Israel worse. But there is a difference between that and their implied criticism of Shaked through their choice of photo. What they are implying with that photo, I think, is that our current Justice Minister is a little girl in shoes that are way too big for her. Rather than limiting themselves to attacking her point of view and policies–as they generally do with male politicians–they just dismiss her altogether.

      And that double-standard of treatment for male and female politicians is why I called it sexist.

  4. Sandra, I might be opening a controversial can-o’-worms here, but I have to say I see easily where both Shaked and Elitzur are coming from, and I think that although a quick glance at these words may give one the impression of a hot, passion-driven diatribe, it is really the well-considered and rational conclusion based on reality, no words minced. I once took a course from a highly respected and not-at-all militant American Rabbi, who was trying to answer questions from our group in the category of – Why can’t Israel allow playing Wagner music despite his personal antisemitism if he can be appreciated separately only for his musical genius; and, How could the mitzvah of mechiyat Amalek include children too? Innocents! his answer was lengthy, but distilled it was, A) You cannot dichotomize. If someone brilliant and creative actively advocated and supported the burning down of your home and business and the murder of your family R”L, can you listen to his music?! (B) As for Amalek children: Baby rattlesnakes grow up to be big rattlesnakes. It’s is just the reality. We can debate about the nature-nurture question. How much is inborn, how much was ingrained through a ruthless and cruel educational and family system, but it is what Shaked and Elitzur said- echoing my Rabbi – they are (by and large) little snakes. Nobody who knows me, by the way, can accuse me of being either being a racist or a broad-brusher. I am the first to rush in defense of the yechidim. But I know in this case, as the Torah and history have taught us too well, they are yechidim and need to be called as much.
    PS, I think in ALL the pictures, Ms Shaked does look like someone’s teenage daughter! What can she do, she was blessed. May she stay forever young…not that I disagree about the Left-wing paper’s portrayal. Not for nothing, as they say in Brooklyn.

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