Settler leader on the verge of shelving the Netanyahu era

Settler leader on the verge of shelving the Netanyahu era

Naftali Bennet, likely prime minister of the new Israeli government, bets on the annexation of the West Bank and rejects a Palestinian state

Naftali Bennett, this week in the Parliament of Israel./AFP

Naftali Bennett may become in the next few days the new prime minister of Israel. This will require that Parliament ratify the agreement reached ‘in extremis’ by the eight parties that have come together to end the era of Benyamin Netanyahu. The vote of confidence could be delayed until the 14th and until then Netanyahu will do everything possible so that the fragile coalition fails in its attempt and there are deputies who break party discipline and vote against.

Bennett’s threat is in his own party, the small right-wing force Yamina [which in Hebrew means ‘to the right’] which has only seven of the 120 seats in the Chamber, where both deputies and voters have shown their objection to an agreement that includes an Islamist party and that is considered a “treason.” The security forces have had to reinforce the protection of who could be Netanyahu’s replacement in the face of the level of threats received. His home in Ra’anana, north of Tel Aviv, where he lives with his wife and four children, is now armored and the scene of daily protests.

With the possible promotion of Bennett to the head of Government – in a rotating agreement with Yair Lapid by which I would occupy the seat for the first two yearss– the settlers take another step forward in their political project and are about to place whoever was the leader of their council at the head of Israel. Bennett led the Yesha Council, the body that unites the West Bank colonies, but has never been a settler and has maintained his residence in Ra’anana.

As in the golan

One of the key points in its electoral program is the need to move from occupation to annexation of area C of the West Bank [after the Oslo accords the West Bank was divided into three parts, on paper area A, under civilian and military control of the Palestinian National Authority [PNA], area B under civilian control of the PNA and control joint military with Israel and the C, under exclusive military control and almost total civilian control of Israel].

He is also openly opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state Therefore, it does not agree with the two-state solution that the international community defends, with the government of Joe Biden at the helm. When in 2013 he declared “I have killed many Arabs in my life and there is no problem”, his words occupied all the press headlines and he took the opportunity to make a difference with Netanyahu because he claimed to be “further to the right” than the prime minister.

«We must continue working in this direction to annex this area C and give it Israeli identity, the same as we did with the Golan and East Jerusalem, areas that over the years the world has already understood that they are ours ”, is one of the maxims that the ultra-nationalist leader repeats in each campaign.

If the Executive is consummated, he will have the opportunity to lead this project that Netanyahu himself could not carry out. Although in view of the coalition he has at his side, he is pragmatic and has already advanced that «we’re all going to have to give in and we will not be able to fulfill our programs.

Descendant of emigrants and Orthodox religious

The son of immigrants from San Francisco, Naftali Bennett was born in Haifa 49 years ago and is an Orthodox religious – he may be the first head of government in history to wear a kippah – who grew up in a secular family. After spending periods in the United States and Canada, he graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is a successful entrepreneur in the technological world of start-ups, where he founded the cybersecurity company Cyota, which he sold in 2005 for 123 million euros. euros. In his early 30s, he was already bragging about “being able to have cocktails in the Caribbean for the rest of my life.”

A former officer in the Army’s Special Forces Maglan unit, one of the elite units, he made the leap to politics in 2006 in the ranks of the Likud. At the time, the party founded by Menahem Begin almost half a century ago and to which the current acting prime minister belongs, found itself in opposition.

Netanyahu welcomed him into training and made him his chief of staff, but he soon started his own solo projects and in 2012 created the religious Zionist Jewish Home party, with which he won 12 seats in the elections the following year.

Since then he has become a faithful ally of the Likud and Netanyahu awarded him with the ministries of Diaspora, Religious Services, Education and Defense. The problem between them is not ideological, it is more one of management and personnel, the same thing that has happened to Netanyahu with other former proteges such as Avigdor Lieberman or Gideon Saar, who have also embarked on the cabinet of change.


Israel, Tel Aviv, United States, Haifa, Palestine