Naftali Bennett is the first man to be the Israeli prime minister after 12 years of Benjamin Netanyahu’s sovereignty. Is the new PM a different one in ideology?
Following former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to form a government after a third election in two years, Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid managed to make an unprecedented coalition of eight opposing parties. The way out of Israel‘s political deadlock went through this coalition.
The incoming PM is a former advisor to Netanyahu and potentially a more right-leaning politician than Netanyahu. If the fragile administration endures two years, the moderate Yair Lapid would take over as Prime Minister for another two years.
Bennett and Lapid’s astonishing coalition includes parties on both the left and right, secular and religious. The only shared goal among these parties was deposing the 12-year prime minister.
The 49-year-old politician with American roots has been a successful computer investor. Bennett then became strongly active in politics. Bennett is also a religious figure and a chauvinist.
For his opinions, certain Israeli analysts and publications used to call Bennett an “ultra-nationalist”. In February, the head of Yamina, and current PM of Israel told The Times of Israel “I’m more rightwing than Bibi (Netanyahu), but I don’t use hate or polarization as a tool to promote myself politically.”
Bennett openly advocated for annexation of the West Bank. Commentators and analysts have assert that his general position since bursting onto Israel’s political landscape in 2013 has remained intact.
Bennett was a key advisor to Netanyahu for three years. He, nevertheless, left Netanyahu and the Likud in 2008 after deepened discrepancies with the leaders.
Bennett joined the Jewish Home party, a hardline extremist religious party in 2013. in the same year, he found his way to the Parliament the party’s representative.
Bennett is well-known for his ardent support for the Jewish state. His insistence on Israel’s tenure on East Jerusalem, West Bank is no less extreme than his predecessor.
Bennett was a former chairman of the Yesha Council, a body of political figures that promotes settlement in the West Bank. He has long advocated for the claims of Jewish residents in the West Bank against international regulations. He, on the other hand, has never supported Israeli claims in Gaza.
Bennett, nevertheless, has adopted a strong stance on Palestinian military forces. He supports murdering the Palestinian independent militia. During the recent clashes, Bennett alleged Hamas with “murdering” people in Gaza by instigating attacks against Israel. Analysts found this a justification for more attacks against Palestinians.
As times of Israel describes him, Bennett “is not in the business of boycotting political rivals, but he is a man of ‘the national camp’ — a firm and proud right-winger who will oppose Palestinian statehood forever, under any and every circumstance; who wants to extend Israeli sovereignty to some 60 per cent of the West Bank; who thinks Israel has already relinquished too much of its Biblical land.”
At the first glance, Netanyahu’s removal from office might seem promising for those seeking a resolution to the long-time conflict of the Middle East. Bennett’s grip on power, with his almost more extreme positions, might despair the observers.
Furthermore, the inclusion of opposing parties like Arab parties on the one side and the New Hope, a fervent supporter of Jewish settlements, on the other may indicate the failure of another coalition government not a long time later.
In his first speech after Knesset vote, Bennett promised healing the divisions rooted in the Israeli society in the past decade. Securing solidarity with extreme ideologies might be the absurd motif of the modern age.