Naftali Bennet takes on Netanyahu, and wins

Naftali Bennet, the head of the right wing “Bayit Yehudi” party is up in the polls. According to a new poll conducted yesterday, he would receive 17 seats in the Knesset, if elections were held. He currently has 12.

And what has caused this surge in support? It seems that his recent attack against Netanyahu, for which he was forced to apologize has actually boosted his standing among the voters in Israel.

Bennet publicly attacked Netanyahu after a Times of Israel report “according to which Netanyahu wants Jewish settlers to be given the choice of living under future Palestinian rule in the West Bank if a peace treaty is sealed.”

My thoughts:

First, its important to remember that the Bayit Hayehudi party is much more right wing than Likud.  Among other things, it has advocated annexing 60% of the West Bank.

As we get closer to a possible framework deal with the Palestinians (I emphasize the word possible), we are going to see both the left and the right becoming much more vociferous, combative and active. Yesterday I saw the head of the opposition Isaac Herzog like I have never seen him before at INSS conference. He did not hold back in attacking the right. Very combative.

And now the right in Israel is becoming worried, because a deal with the Palestinians could challenge it politically like it has not been challenged before since it returned to power with Netanyahu.The biggest loser from a deal could be Bennet. In my opinion if a deal is reached with the Palestinians, just like Netanyahu resigned from Likud prior to the Gaza withdrawal in 2005, Bennet is likely to resign as well. He could also get fired if he challenges Netanyahu again, this time with no warning.  He may be popular, but his party will remain marginalized, if a deal goes through. He must be praying that Kerry’s peace efforts fail.

Here is Naftali Bennet challenging the idea that the West Bank is occupied:

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