The government crisis in Israel, which has been going on for weeks, ended with the reconciliation between the opposition parties last night. Benjamin Netanyahu’s scandal-filled 12-year term as prime minister is coming to an end. All eyes are now on far-right politician Naftali Bennett, who will take the seat left vacant by him during the first two years of the coalition government.
So how did Bennett become Israel’s most important politician, even though his party, Yamina, could only win seven MPs in the 120 Knesset seats?
Let’s start at the beginning if you wish …
BECOME A TECHNOLOGY MILLIONAIRE IN 2005
Described as Bennett’s “Woodstock Generation”, his parents are Americans who immigrated to Israel after the 1967 war. The Bennett’s immigrated from San Francisco to Haifa, and Naftali Bennett was born there in 1972.
Unlike the military or legal politicians we are used to seeing in Israel, Bennett is a man rich in technology. It was Netanyahu who introduced Bennett to politics, who became one of the millionaires after the sale of fraud prevention software company Cyota, of which he was the founder, for $ 145 million in 2005.
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Bennett, who began his career as Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, was elected Member of Parliament in 2013, after which he renounced his US citizenship.
ARCHITECTS OF ISRAL’S MOST RACIST LAW
Bennett, who will be the country’s second youngest prime minister, may have spent little time in Israeli politics, but the list of statements that shocked the world is quite long.
According to analysts, Bennett’s far-right rhetoric is one of the most important reasons for the increase in Arab and Palestinian hostility, which has peaked in Israel in recent years. Bennett is considered one of the architects of the Nation-State Law, which was passed in July 2018 and described as “the most racist law in Knesset history.” It is even pointed out that the law in question was the most important moment in defining the political career of Bennett, then Minister of Education.
The nation-state law contains provisions that allow Jewish Israelis to dominate non-Jews and only gives Jews the right to nation-state self-determination. At the time, the law provoked strong reactions on the grounds that it laid the foundations for the “apartheid” regime, ie racial discrimination.
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DEFENDED FIRST, APPEAL A WEEK LATER
Bennett, who defended the law, said: “Ensuring that Israel remains a Jewish nation-state does not endanger the future of the Jewish people, but protects them. Preserve the Jewish traditions that protect our people, who have been in exile for 2,000 years. , is the only way to ensure the continuity of Israel as a strong and dynamic democracy in a difficult region, ”he said.
However, only a week later, he apologized, stating that he regretted what he said. Bennett said that from his conversations with his former comrades in arms he understood that Israel had unwittingly offended the non-Muslim Arab minority, the Druze, and said: “As the Israeli government, we have the responsibility of building a bridge between them. “
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After this incident, Naftali Bennett cemented his place in the minds of the Israelis. Some Israelis believed that with the statement in question, Bennett turned out to be a rational politician who knew how to admit his mistakes. For others, this statement showed Bennett to be an ultra-nationalist anti-Arab and pro-annexation, radical and unstable politician who would not hesitate to harm Israel’s relations with other countries.
BE THE FIRST PREMIER OF KIPPA
Bennett’s contradictions are not limited to this. For example, Bennett and his family, one of the biggest defenders of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and even Council President Isha, live in Ra’anana, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods within the borders internationally. recognized from Israel.
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Bennett is a very devout Jew and appears to be the first prime minister of Israel to wear a kippah (prayer cap worn by Jewish men). However, all of the coalition partners in the government he will form are secular parties. On the other hand, the mother of her four children and her husband, who is a pastry chef, is also known as a very secular woman.
“I KILLED A LOT OF ARAB AND THINK THERE IS NO PROBLEM”
Bennett’s most important characteristic is his anti-Arab rhetoric, as we mentioned above. In particular, Bennett is even more anti-Arab and more radical than Netanyahu, thanks to his words: “I have killed a lot of Arabs in my life and I think it’s okay”, in reference to his military service and in a speech leaked to Yediot Ahronot, one of the Israeli newspapers in 2013. placed in the same location.
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Moreover, this is not the only thing that happened in Bennett’s statement … again in 2013, in a post he shared on Facebook after the vote on the release of 104 Arabs detained in the Israeli prisons, he said: “Terrorists must be killed, they must not be released. I was in this grief for the rest of my life. I lived to give life to two actions “are always in mind.
Bennett said that in 2018, Israeli soldiers should act with the motto of “shoot to kill” against Palestinians, including children. Bennett, who said, “I will not let Gaza terrorists cross the border every day,” shocked the world when answering the question about children: “They are not children, they are terrorists, we we are wrong.
FORBIDDEN SOLDIERS TO SPEAK IN SCHOOLS
While he was Minister of Education, he banned the group We Are Breaking the Silence, made up of former soldiers who opposed the occupation in the West Bank, from speaking to high school students. It was also Bennett who had a novel about the love between an Israeli woman and a Muslim man removed from recommended playlists.
When Donald Trump was elected President of the United States in 2016, Bennett issued a statement to reporters in Jerusalem and said: “The era of the Palestinian state is over. He also supported Trump after the attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in 2018. He even made a statement regarding a report showing a 57% increase in anti-Semitic movements during Trump’s tenure, “I’m sure these are real “.
“THE PEACE PLAN WILL NEVER BE DONE”
Based on all of these statements, Bennett wants to establish absolute Israeli rule in the region stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, and he is trying with all his might to eliminate the possibility of Palestinians and Israelis living together in peace.
For example, this Bennett position came to the fore in documents prepared for the 2013 election campaign. “Many of us understand that some things will never happen: The new season of ‘The Sopranos’ will not be filmed on film. … and there will never be a peace plan with the Palestinians “featured in campaign videos and posters.
In an interview with the Guardian in 2017, Bennett said he would definitely prevent the creation of a Palestinian state and said: “There will be no such thing. A Palestinian state would mean disaster for the next 200 years.
THE WESTERN CHARIA WANTS APPENDIX
In an interview with Al Jazeera on the issue of settlers, Bennett denied that Palestinians had been evicted from their homes and said: “I challenge you: tell me the name of a single Palestinian who was expelled from their homes. at their home. a real lie. “
In fact, the first thing Bennett, who released a seven-point roadmap to this effect in 2012, is the formal annexation of the land that makes up 60 percent of the West Bank. It is stated that he will control the water resources in the Region. It aims to “oppose the demands of apartheid” by granting citizenship to a few thousand of the millions of Palestinians who will be displaced.
The road map also includes clauses to cut ties between Gaza and the West Bank altogether, and to absolutely prevent the Palestinians from establishing a state in the West Bank.
SINCERE OPINIONS OR STRATEGIC EXPLANATIONS?
So why is a right-wing, anti-Arab politician forming a coalition with left and center parties? Moreover, how to explain the presence of the Arab party led by Mansur Abbas in this coalition?
Bennett answered this question on a TV show he attended on Sunday night: “The political crisis in Israel is at an unprecedented level in the world,” Bennett said, and continued:
“We can do the fifth, sixth or even tenth elections, we can tear apart the bricks that make up the walls of our country, but we will end up under the rubble. Or we can end this madness and take responsibility. “
These words should be read with analysts who know it well. For example, Yohanan Plesner of the Israel Democracy Institute, with whom he served in the military 30 years ago, told the Daily Beast that Bennett was a pragmatist and said his career had pushed him to the right.
Plesner said, “He got ahead of Netanyahu by marching on his right side,” and said Bennett’s position in front of the audience was complex in that sense.
Speaking to the New York Times, Orit Galili-Zucker claimed Bennett adopted this far-right rhetoric in order to be an alternative to right-wing Netanyahu. Galili-Zucker, Netanyahu’s former strategic communications adviser, pointed out that the Likud Party described Bennett as a “dangerous right-wing” in 2013, and now describes him as a “dangerous leftist”.
Sitting from left to right, Yair Lapid, Naftali Bennett and Mansur Abbas
CAN HE BE A MODERATE PRIME MINISTER?
In his Sunday night speech, Bennett’s promise that “this will be our government, not my government” drew attention.
“No one will give up their own ideology, but everyone will have to delay achieving their dreams a bit. We will focus on what can be done instead of discussing the impossible,” Bennett said, though these words are being interpreted as a sign that he will be more moderate and find common ground with his coalition partners, contrary to his rhetoric during his first ministry.
Speaking to the Guardian a few days ago, Arab Israeli MP Sami Abu Shehadah said it was “unthinkable” to support Bennett just to send Netanyahu.
Noting that a Bennett government is “light years away from democratic change,” Abu Shehada said: “Bennett supports the settlements and the continued blockade of Gaza. It sanctifies the institutional mechanisms that guarantee the maintenance of Jewish domination and the sidelining of Palestinian citizens. We are absolutely against Prime Minister Netanyahu and he is a danger to the whole region. However, for radical change, policies must change, not just the personnel, ”he said.