Naftali Bennett is a Jewish nationalist, technology millionaire, and longtime ally of Benjamin Netanyahu. As the 3rd Alternate Prime Minister of Israel, he will serve as the 13th Prime Minister of Israel from 13 June 2021 to 30 June 2022. His political views are not exactly mainstream, but they do reflect the values of the nation-state of Israel.
Naftali Bennett is a young Israeli entrepreneur who has become a technology millionaire. Bennett has a background in law and software development and studied at the Hebrew University. After graduating, he co-founded a software company called Cytota. In 2005, it was acquired by RSA Security for $145 million.
Bennett is a religious Jew who has earned millions in the mostly secular hi-tech industry. He has also become a prominent ally of Israel’s settlement movement. In the Israeli election in March, Bennett’s ultranationalist Yamina party won seven seats, giving it its fourth consecutive win in two years. While he is a pragmatist on the economy, he has taken a hard line against Iran, Israel’s arch-foe.
However, Bennett’s political career is not without controversy. In the past, he has worked with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In fact, he was a top aide to Netanyahu. After the election, he resigned from the New Right alliance and returned to the Knesset as head of Yamina. Yamina means “rightwards”. Bennett is often branded as a “ultra-nationalist” because of his support for a Jewish nation state and religious claims on occupied territory.
Bennett was once considered Netanyahu’s protege, serving as his chief of staff from 2006 to 2008. He later quit the Likud party and joined the right-wing national religious party Jewish Home. This party went on to win the 2013 elections, becoming the most popular party in Israel.
Aside from his technology background, Bennett also has experience as a military officer. He served in the Israeli Army’s elite Special Forces unit, where he hunted Hezbollah rocket teams in 1996. He later turned to the technology world.
Naftali Bennett is a religious-minded Jewish nationalist who is running for the Knesset as a candidate for Prime Minister of Israel. A former member of the Israeli military, Bennett was one of the first religious recruits in the Maglan, a super-selective commando unit. Bennett was raised in a secular family but became observant after meeting his wife, a practicing Jewish woman. After a stint in the army, Bennett founded a cybersecurity company called Cyota, based in Israel. After studying law in the US, he sold Cyota and returned to Israel to seek political opportunities.
A religious Jewish nationalist, Bennett belongs to a fringe movement that has historically been a militant, right-wing political party. It is centered around the yeshiva Mercaz HaRav, a Talmudic school with a rabbi at the center. Its members opposed any territorial compromise with Palestinians, and were committed to colonisation.
Bennett is opposed to Palestinian independence and supports the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. After the 2006 war, Bennett was a vocal critic of Netanyahu for agreeing to halt settlement construction. He became a Knesset member in 2013, and served as cabinet minister in various Netanyahu-led governments.
Bennett joined the government in 2007, serving as Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He was later appointed Minister of Education and Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs. His seat in the Knesset was lost in the April 2019 Knesset election, and he was fired from his post as Education Minister in June of that year. However, he won a seat again in the September Knesset elections and was appointed Minister of Defense.
Bennett is a father of four and a modern Orthodox Jew. He wears a kippa, a traditional Jewish skullcap, and lives in the upscale Tel Aviv suburb of Raanana. His parents were American-born and raised in Haifa. He and his siblings bounced between Israel and the United States, where Bennett attended law school. Bennett’s religious orientation is visible in his choice of positions in the Israeli government.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has made it clear that he does not support the creation of a Palestinian state. The prime minister’s remarks come amid the ongoing controversy over the fate of Israel’s settlements. Palestinians want the settlements removed in exchange for an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Netanyahu, on the other hand, supports settlements and opposes any attempt to dissolve Israel. Bennett believes that a Palestinian state would weaken the Jewish character of Israel.
The former head of Yesha has long been an advocate of annexation and called for all of Area C to become part of a sovereign Israel. His opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state has been a thorn in the side of Palestinians and the two-state solution. While Bennett is a prominent supporter of the settlement enterprise, he has also said that it is impossible to have a two-state solution without compromise from the right and left.
While Netanyahu’s policies are widely regarded as the most effective way to resolve the conflict, Bennett’s policies and rhetoric have failed to accomplish this goal. His party has a long history of opposing the creation of a Palestinian state. He even endorsed the annexation of large parts of the occupied West Bank. As such, the new prime minister is an unlikely candidate to achieve peace with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu’s right-wing opposition is united in its opposition to any negotiations and the creation of a Palestinian state. With such a stance, Israel and the Palestinians are on a collision course.
Bennett is a former ally of Netanyahu and has been described as being more right-wing than the prime minister. The son of American immigrants, Bennett entered the Israeli Parliament eight years ago. He is relatively unknown outside Israel, and has been labeled a right-wing extremist, pragmatist, and opportunist. Despite his controversial views, Bennett is poised to become the next prime minister of Israel.
The former technology executive joined the Netanyahu government as Netanyahu’s chief of staff in 2008. He also served as Netanyahu’s education and economy minister. In 2018, he rebranded his Jewish Home party as Yamina (Rightward). After his stint in Netanyahu’s cabinet, he re-joined the opposition but was not invited to join the coalition led by Netanyahu. While in opposition, he tempered his right-wing rhetoric and focused on the health crisis, announcing plans to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Bennett may also seek to reach an understanding with the Joint List outside of the coalition. In the 1990s, he served as the head of a minority government. But if he wins, it could be a disaster for Netanyahu. The next prime minister will need to negotiate with Bennett and the opposition.
Netanyahu is unlikely to make an executive decision before the general election on April 9. Bennett, a hard-line right-winger, has a history of polarizing the political scene in Israel. As a former commando, he served in the Israeli military. Later, he was implicated in the 1996 Qana massacre in which Israeli artillery fired on civilians, including children. Despite the attacks, he went on to launch a tech start-up, sold it for $145 million in 2005, and eventually became the chief of staff for Netanyahu, even while he was opposition.
Bennett is opposed to the two-state solution and he supports the construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. He has previously labeled fellow Knesset Member Mansour Abbas as a ‘terror supporter’. Furthermore, he has actively campaigned for the expansion of settlements in the West Bank. Bennett has also served as a cabinet minister under two Netanyahu-led governments.
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