Israeli election, view from a Shas driver’s seat

Shira Schmidt

Shira Leibowitz Schmidt was raised in an assimilated Jewish home in New York, and became observant while studying at Stanford University in California. In June 1967 she told her engineering school professor she would miss the final exam because she was going to Israel to volunteer during the Six Day War. “That’s the most original excuse I have ever been offered,” he responded. She arrived during the war and stayed, receiving her BSc in absentia. She subsequently met and married the late Elhanan Leibowitz, and they raised their six children in Beersheba. Mrs. Leibowitz acquired a Masters in Urban & Regional Planning from the Technion, and an MSc in Civil Engineering from University of Waterloo. Today she lives with her husband, Dr. Baruch Schmidt, in Netanya. She co-authored, with Nobel prize-winning chemist Roald Hoffmann, Old Wine New Flasks. She has co-translated from Hebrew to English (with Jessica Setbon) From the Depths (the autobiography of Rabbi Israel Meir Lau); The Forgotten Memoirs (memoirs of Rabbis who survived the Shoah, edited by Esther Farbstein); and Rest of the Dove (Parashat Hashavua by Rabbi Haim Sabato). She and her husband appear in the documentary film about the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe, “Hidden Face.” She is available to lecture in Israel and in the US and can be contacted via

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4 Responses

  1. yaak says:

    Hizki Uvirchi, Shira!
    It’s nice to know that someone in the media stands up for R’ Ovadia and Shas.

  2. Perplexed says:

    KOl Hakovod to Shas they ran on a social platform to help the poor and the elderly and you see people were impressed and went out to vote for them and they increased their existing numbers. I wish the the UTJ would learn from them. You see even the seculare party Labor did well because of the platform they ran on.

    I am not point fault at the gedolei Yisrael but at the members of the UTJ party themselves of the UTJ party itself. i am amazed that the pensioners were able to get 7 seats and UTJ could only garner 6. Perhaps the english speaking spoke person Rav Rosenblum could expalin what it it is with UTJ that they behave in such a matter that people do not go out to vote for them.



  3. Shira Schmidt says:

    Rosh Hodesh Nissan
    Seems that today Shas went down to 12 seats, because the soldiers’ votes were counted and factored in.
    The reason the Pensioners’ Party got so many votes, and other election results, is explained in two articles from Haaretz. Avirama Golan writes about the Pensioners and how that success has many negative ramifications and is a “bubble party” for many who wanted a trendy place to cast their floating vote. See “The Pensioners’ Party:Compassion, Inc.”

    Shahar Ilan, who is usually anti-religious, writes rather mildly about Shas, the Pensioners, and others in “Things are Different when it Comes to Shas”
    Now back to Pesah cleaning. Hodesh tov.

  4. Steve Brizel says:

    Just curious-would the author be able to give a rough estimate of whether Shas won votes at the expense of its UTJ or Mafdal?

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