Naftali Bennett who was sworn in Sunday as Israel’s new primary minister, embodies numerous of the contradictions that determine the 73-12 months-previous country.
He’s a spiritual Jew who built thousands and thousands in the primarily secular hi-tech sector a champion of the settlement movement who life in a Tel Aviv suburb a former ally of Benjamin Netanyahu who has partnered with centrist and left-wing get-togethers to conclusion his 12-year rule.
His ultranationalist Yamina bash gained just 7 seats in the 120-member Knesset in March elections — the fourth this sort of vote in two years. But by refusing to commit to Netanyahu or his opponents, Bennett positioned himself as kingmaker. Even following a person member of his spiritual nationalist occasion abandoned him to protest the new coalition deal, he finished up with the crown.
Here is a look at Israel’s upcoming leader:
AN ULTRANATIONALIST WITH A Moderate COALITION
Bennett has extensive positioned himself to the ideal of Netanyahu. But he will be seriously constrained by his unwieldy coalition, which has only a slim bulk in parliament and features functions from the ideal, still left and centre.
He is opposed to Palestinian independence and strongly supports Jewish settlements in the occupied West Lender and east Jerusalem which the Palestinians and much of the worldwide community see as a big obstacle to peace.
Bennett fiercely criticized Netanyahu soon after the prime minister agreed to gradual settlement design beneath pressure from President Barack Obama who experimented with and unsuccessful to revive the peace process early in his initially phrase.
He briefly served as head of the West Financial institution settler’s council, Yesha, before getting into the Knesset in 2013. Bennett afterwards served as cabinet minister of diaspora affairs, education and protection in numerous Netanyahu-led governments.
“He’s a right-wing chief, a security tricky-liner, but at the very same time incredibly pragmatic,” explained Yohanan Plesner, head of the Israel Democracy Institute, who has regarded Bennett for many years and served with him in the armed service.
He expects Bennett to engage with other factions to uncover a “common denominator” as he seeks guidance and legitimacy as a countrywide leader.
RIVALRY WITH NETANYAHU
The 49-yr-aged father of 4 shares Netanyahu’s hawkish approach to the Center East conflict, but the two have experienced tense relations more than the decades.
Bennett served as Netanyahu’s chief of personnel for two several years, but they parted strategies soon after a mysterious falling out that Israeli media connected to Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, who wields fantastic affect in excess of her husband’s internal circle.
Bennett campaigned as a suitable-wing stalwart ahead of the March elections and signed a pledge on countrywide Tv set declaring he would never allow Yair Lapid a centrist and Netanyahu’s principal rival, to develop into prime minister.
But when it became clear Netanyahu was unable to form a ruling coalition, which is just what Bennett did, agreeing to provide as key minister for two a long time before handing power to Lapid, the architect of the new coalition.
Netanyahu’s supporters have branded Bennett a traitor, indicating he defrauded voters. Bennett has defended his decision as a pragmatic transfer aimed at unifying the nation and avoiding a fifth round of elections.
A GENERATIONAL Shift
Bennett, a father of four and a modern-day Orthodox Jew, will be Israel’s first key minister who frequently wears a kippa, the skullcap worn by observant Jews. He lives in the upscale Tel Aviv suburb of Raanana, relatively than the settlements he champions.
Bennett started lifetime with his American-born dad and mom in Haifa, then bounced with his loved ones amongst North The united states and Israel, military services company, legislation faculty and the non-public sector. All through, he’s curated a persona that is at after contemporary, religious and nationalist.
Soon after serving in the elite Sayeret Matkal commando device, Bennett went to regulation university at Hebrew College. In 1999, he co-started Cyota, an anti-fraud computer software firm that was offered in 2005 to U.S.-primarily based RSA Security for $145 million.
Bennett has said the bitter knowledge of Israel’s 2006 war in opposition to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah drove him to politics. The monthlong war ended inconclusively, and Israel’s armed service and political leadership at the time was greatly criticized as bungling the marketing campaign.
Bennett represents a 3rd technology of Israeli leaders, after the founders of the condition and Netanyahu’s generation, which came of age for the duration of the country’s tense early decades marked by recurring wars with Arab states.
“He’s Israel 3.,” Anshel Pfeffer, a columnist for Israel’s still left-leaning Haaretz newspaper, wrote in a current profile of Bennett.
“A Jewish nationalist but not genuinely dogmatic. A bit religious, but definitely not devout. A armed service guy who prefers the comforts of civilian urban daily life and a significant-tech entrepreneur who isn’t wanting to make any extra thousands and thousands. A supporter of the Better Land of Israel but not a settler. And he may perhaps nicely not be a lifelong politician possibly.”