In 2013, Naftali Bennett, the new prime minister of “Israel,” said that Palestinian prisoners should be killed, not released.
Who is Bennett?
The leader of the extreme right in the Jewish state, Naftali Bennett (49 years), became the new prime minister of “Israel”, succeeding Benjamin Netanyahu, and he worked for years at his side and was one of his most loyal students.
Bennett was sworn in in the Knesset (Parliament) on Sunday, after the new government coalition, he heads won the confidence of Parliament.
The millionaire and former high-tech entrepreneur head the extremist Yamina party, which calls for the annexation of more than two-thirds of the occupied West Bank.
He made his political path to the right of his “teacher” Netanyahu and was part of the Netanyahu government that collapsed in 2018, and since 2013 he has held five ministerial portfolios, the last of which was the Ministry of War in 2020, but Netanyahu did not ask him to join the unity government that was formed In May 2020.
Evan Gottesman of the Israel Policy Forum says Bennett represents “the version tailored to an Israeli audience desperately seeking to replace Netanyahu.”
The coalition agreement stipulates that his presidency will rotate, as Bennett will be prime minister for two years, before handing the helm to Yair Lapid, the coalition’s architect, and former TV star.
Bennett adopts ultra-nationalist religious rhetoric and is the first leader of a far-right religious party to head the government in the history of the Jewish state. Bennett says that he still shares Netanyahu’s faith, but is critical of his management of the country.
Bennett, a former soldier in the Special Forces, was born in Haifa (central occupied Palestine in 1948) on March 25, 1972, to parents born in the United States, and lives with his wife Galette and four children in the city of Ra’anana in central “Israel”.
Like Netanyahu, he served in the elite Sayeret Matkal military unit, entered politics after selling his tech start-up for $145 million in 2005, and the following year became Netanyahu’s then-in-opposition chief of staff, a licensee of rights.
Bennett revolutionized politics in 2012 when he took charge of the far-right Jewish Home party, which was facing the prospect of losing all its seats in parliament. He succeeded in boosting his parliamentary presence fourfold after he made a series of fiery statements about the conflict with the Palestinians.
He said, “The West Bank is not under occupation, because there was no Palestinian state here, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be resolved,” and he is one of the staunch opponents of a Palestinian state.
In addition to holding the army portfolio, Bennett served as Minister of Economy and Education in the Netanyahu government.
In 2018, he renamed the Jewish Home party Yamina (right).
Despite his right-wing religious background, Bennett is unconcerned with questions about the place of religion in the country, and he has liberal ideas about certain values, especially when it comes to LGBT issues.