Friday, July 23rd | 15 Av 5781

June 6, 2021 12:31 pm

What Can a Skeptical World Expect From Naftali Bennett?

avatar by Jonathan S. Tobin /


Yamina Party member Naftali Bennett attends the Srugim conference in Jerusalem on Sept. 2, 2019. Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90. – This isn’t the way he planned on becoming prime minister of Israel. When Naftali Bennett left the world of high-tech to enter Israeli politics, the idea that he might achieve the top spot by pushing aside Benjamin Netanyahu would have been inconceivable to him. And even later on, while he led a party to the right of Likud, he regarded it as an ally of Netanyahu, not an opponent — let alone the engine of Netanyahu’s political demise. Any notion of him succeeding Netanyahu was a scenario that smart political observers believed was something that could only occur after Netanyahu had retired and also involved Bennett rejoining the Likud.

But whether or not this is how he might have dreamed of achieving such a feat, Bennett is set to become prime minister sometime in the next couple of weeks by forging an unlikely alliance with seven other political parties, including those on the center, left, and even an Arab political faction with whom he has little in common. The main purpose of this bizarre coalition is to supplant Netanyahu, the man whom Bennett looked up to and loyally served for some time.

In the process, he and his Yamina Party have become the object of the political right’s rage for what they consider his betrayal and is also viewed with skepticism by his new allies. The same is true of most international observers and even friends of Israel in the United States, most of whom know very little about Bennett.

Netanyahu is not giving up, and his followers are seeking to persuade and/or intimidate Bennett’s colleagues into abandoning him. If they succeed and find even one defector, the political chaos will continue.

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