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December 26, 2012 10:02 pm

The Rise of Naftali Bennett

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Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett. Photo: Screenshot.

New York Times – JERUSALEM — Naftali Bennett is not a serious contender to beIsrael‘s next prime minister. He has never held elective office, and the faction he represents currently fills five or seven of Parliament’s 120 seats, depending on how you count.

Yet Mr. Bennett, 40, has emerged a month ahead of the Jan. 22 national elections as perhaps the campaign’s most dynamic and influential factor. Newspaper polls show his revamped Jewish Home party poised to become the third largest in the next Parliament with up to 15 seats, and analysts say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is running scared as Mr. Bennett’s appealing biography and far-right platform combine to lure voters away from Mr. Netanyahu’s dominant Likud-Beiteinu ticket.

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