Video: Israeli Justice Minister in Sultry Spoof Ad for 'Fascism' Perfume

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has released an unusual campaign video, casting herself as a model advertising a new perfume named "Fascism."

In the black-and-white video, posted on social media Monday night, Shaked can be seen walking around a luxurious home, down a grand staircase, past artwork and among billowing curtains. A voice-over lists the reforms the minister is promising to push through, aimed mostly at curbing the power of the Supreme Court and preventing it from striking down legislation passed by the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.

"Reducing [judicial] activism", the voice intones in an echoing whisper, over soaring piano music. "Judicial revolution. Separation of powers. Restraining the Supreme Court. Fascism."

Shaked is then seen spraying herself with the perfume—before saying to the camera: "Smells like democracy to me." The video then cuts to an out-of-focus frame of Shaked walking away from the camera, as the slogan "The next revolution is coming" plays across the screen.The Supreme Court in Israel plays a dual role, as both the final court of appeal and the highest constitutional court. It has the power to strike down legislation passed by parliament if it finds the new law to be incongruous with one of the Basic Laws—special laws that act as components of Israel's unwritten constitution and require a special majority to change or overturn. Some of the most prominent challenges by the court to the legislature and the executive came in the context of Israel's ongoing rule of territories occupied in 1967 and Palestinian human rights, further sharpening the divide between conservatives and progressives on the issue.

Unlike in the United States, the justices are not confirmed by the legislature, and are not necessarily seen as championed by any particular leader or party. Rather, they are audited and appointed by a special Judicial Selection Committee.

The committee is chaired by the Justice Minister and includes a second cabinet minister, two members of parliament (traditionally, one for the coalition and one for the opposition), the President of the Supreme Court plus two other justices, and two members of the Israeli Bar Association.

Conservative politicians have long resented both the constitutional clout of the court and the manner of the justices' appointments, arguing that giving unelected judges the power to overturn laws passed by elected legislators constituted an affront to democracy.

Defenders of the court argue that it is an important bulwark against fickle populism, and that allowing parliamentary hearings of the kind held in the United States would politicize the process.

Shaked, who has held the justice portfolio in Netanyahu's government since 2015, is seen as the most dogged and effective conservative minister yet in her pursuit of Supreme Court reform.

She rose to power as the second-in-command of the far-right National Home party, but has recently split from it, together with leader Nafatli Bennett, to form The New Right. The new party has been lagging in the polls, but is still expected to be offered portfolios if Netanyahu forms the next government after the April 9 general election.

The video appears to be intended not to legitimize totalitarianism, but to mock the critics who cry "fascism" at the prospect of the reforms which Shaked herself insists are democratic. It was met with incredulity on mainstream and social media. Prominent political correspondent Barak Ravid took to Twitter to brand Shaked "Viktor Orban on Steroids," in reference to the far-right Hungarian leader.

Others on Twitter pointed out that the sarcasm of the ad, originally posted without subtitles, would be lost on non-Hebrew speakers, who would simply see Israel's justice minister promoting fascism as a coveted brand.

Shaked's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.