Naftali Bennett called himself an extremist Israeli nationalist who demanded a more Jewish settlement on the occupied West Bank and tougher action against Palestinian militants.
Now he is on the verge of claiming The highest office of Israel with the support of the only Islamist Arab party in the peripheral left, the Jewish state.
When the 49-year-old man was going to get a job, he was overthrown Benjamin Netanyahuhis one-time tutor and five-time prime minister – his fiery comments are analyzed for hints of what kind of leader he will be.
“Bennett’s ability to assimilate different roles to those who have risen up next to him – friends who have known him for decades – a hard-line right-winger, a tech multimillionaire – suddenly in a divisive country,” says more than his fiery comments as he calculates his ascent to Israeli politics.
“He has always had a very observant public figure. “Not calculated, but carefully adjusted,” said one of two longtime friends who asked to remain anonymous to speak freely about the next possible leader of the Jewish state. “They add up to very convenient contradictions,” said the second. “Naftal’s politician is always evolving.”
That evolution will continue on Sunday with 61 members of Israel’s 120-seat parliament A vote is expected Bennett began his first term as Prime Minister, ending Netanyahu’s 12 years in office.
It would start the first few cases for the Jewish state. A religious Jew who holds the first kipa to rule the country and watches on Saturday. the first to share power with the Arab party, Islamist Raam; և The first Prime Minister to control only six seats in the Knesset.
It would be a catapult for a man who lived in Netanyahu’s shadow, first as chief of staff and then as a right-hand man in his right throat, to send his longest-serving Israeli prime minister to the opposition benches, where his corruption trial is taking place. momentum
The leader of the small Yamina party, Bennett, would replace him at the helm of an eight-headed coalition that stretched from the far left to the extreme nationalist right. He was to run for office for two years as part of a coalition government with opposition leader Jair Lapid.
Holding together would make Bennett even more prosperous, says Johanan Plesser, president of the Israel Institute for Democracy, who has known himself as an elite member of the Israeli Defense Forces since Sayeret Matkal.
Sayeret Matkal then recruited the Ashkenazi Jews of Israel, the descendants of the secular Europeans who founded the state. But Bennett was greeted by another group identified as the National Religious Camp, which mixes Orthodox Judaism with state-building. The barn, which is generally believed to expand settlements on the occupied West Bank, has been gaining popularity in Israel since the late 1990s.
“Bennett was one of the first to mark the aspirations of members of this national religious community to join one of the country’s leading elite institutions,” Plessner said.
He continued. “The fact that he is going to be the first prime minister of this sector is a continuation of the same line of thought that the national religious camp is now the main dish, not just a supplement, they are becoming wider. responsibilities. “
Born in Israel to American Jewish parents, his successful post-election business career ended with a multimillion-dollar exit from a technology company. The military record, which may be personal, is based on the fact that the Israeli government will release its armed forces to take tougher action against Palestinian militants such as Hamas.
But his time in the army during the 1996 Cana massacre was overshadowed. He said he had fired artillery shells near a UN hideout after being shot down by Hezbollah during Operation Enduring Freedom. At least 100 civilians were killed.
Decades later, he was forced to refute comments leaked by the government that he had “killed many Arabs, that there is no problem with that.”
Equally worrying for the international community, which has to deal with the Israeli prime minister, who has already outlined his rejection of the Palestinian state, is his brief stint as head of the West Bank resettlement group in 2010.
“There is a lot of low-hanging fruit in the settlement enterprise that he can reap very quickly to pacify that base,” said a European diplomat who met with Bennett to discuss the demolition of the EU-backed Palestinian West Bank. villages: “It is a good television. Send soldiers to pitch tents, then change the TV channel. ”
But Odette Revivi, the mayor of the Euphrates region and a foreign envoy for the group, remembers Bennett’s tenure as undesirable and ineffective.
“I can not say that during this period there was one specific goal that was achieved,” he said in an interview. And Bennett, who led a coalition of left-wing Arab parties, would lead to a “deadlock,” Revivi predicts.
“They will not be able to promote a two-state solution, just as they will not be able to evacuate any settlement,” he said.
Coalition-imposed compromises will deter Bennett’s strong support, say analysts Bennett’s friends.
Adopting a budget after two years of political paralysis, matching stimulus spending to keep public debt, which has risen to more than 70 percent of gross domestic product during the coronavirus crisis, is expected to be the number one business, they say. The coalition has already informally agreed to focus on economic recovery from the epidemic.
“By simply adopting a budget, nominating a competent civil service, re-operating government vehicles, passing legislation, it will automatically lead to a new start-up atmosphere,” Plessner said.
“He does not need to resolve the 100-year-old conflict with the Palestinians in order to be perceived as a competent and successful prime minister.”