Naftali Bennett is Benjamin Netanyahu’s former chief of staff and current competitor, millionaire, and promoter of settlement policy.
Israel got a new prime minister on Sunday. There is now an exceptional coalition government formed by the election winner, representing Yesh Atid. Jair Lapid.
The idea of bringing the anti-Palestinian party of Israel and the anti-Palestinian state to the same government does not sound very smooth, but under certain conditions Lapid succeeded.
One of these conditions was the two-year rotation of prime minister he began Naphtali Bennett. Jair Lapid’s term is after two years. Now Lapid started as the foreign minister, according to the news agency Reuters.
Naftali Bennett, 49, is a right-wing Orthodox Jew who opposes the Palestinian state and is a friend of Jewish settlements.
Bennett is a millionaire and former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu rival. Bennett, a nationalist Jamina, also has a background in Netanyahu’s Likud party, and from 2006 to 2008, Bennett served as Netanyahu’s chief of staff.
Bennett has been a member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, since 2013. In the same year, he became Minister of Economy and held office for two years. In 2015–2019 he was the Minister of Education and in 2019–2020 the Minister of Defense.
Prior to his political career, Bennett was a technology entrepreneur. In 1999, he founded the software company Cyota, which he sold six years later to RSA in the United States. Purchase price is said to have been just under EUR 120 million.
Bennettin the parents are of American background, and he spent part of his childhood not only in Haifa, Israel but also in the United States. Until 2013, Bennett had U.S. citizenship, but he had to relinquish it after becoming a member of the Knesset.
After completing compulsory military service in the early 1990s, Bennett, like many other Israeli youths, remained in the military and worked until 1996 in two different special forces units in Sayeret Travel and Maglan.
Sayeret Matkal’s soldiers were behind the enemy, and in Maglan Bennett led a unit that carried out military operations near the Lebanese border.
One who served with Bennett in the Special Forces said in 2013 To Haaretz magazinethat when Bennett wants something, he gets it too.
The new prime minister is a major of military rank.
Bennettin positions on the Palestinian question have been at least as steep as those of previous Prime Minister Netanyahu. From 2010 to 2013, he served as the leader of the Yeshane Council, which advocates for the interests of Jewish settlements.
At the same time, however, Netanyahu froze construction activities in the settlements of the U.S. president Barack Obaman and international pressure, he says The Times of Israel.
At the latest, this made Netanyahu and Bennett rivals. In the most recent election, Bennett openly announced that he was challenging Netanyahu, who in recent years, as chairman of the Knesset’s largest party, had bumped into Bennett’s opposition before being promoted to defense minister for safety.
Opposition to Netanyahu has worked, at least so far. A politically very diverse government was formed precisely because the parties were united by a desire to get rid of Netanyahu.
Netanyahu, who has fallen into opposition, has commented on the coalition government as “dangerous and leftist”.
Bennettin leader of the Israeli Institute of Non-Aligned Democracy, known since the military years Jonahan Plesner expects Bennett to look for common denominators with other parties on the quilt board.
“He is a right-wing leader and holds a strong line on security issues,” Lesner told the news agency To the AP.
“But at the same time, he is very pragmatic.”
Read more: Israel’s new government is like Frankenstein’s monster that could plunge Netanyahu out of power once and for all