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:

My Local Pharmacy, My Fantasy Israel

I have a soft spot in my heart for Pharmacies, a major reason being that my father used to own one in Tehran for more than 10 years (until 1988 in Kooy-e Nasr Neighbourhood, on the  corner of Forouzanfar and 9th street).

I used to help out after school and during the holidays. He constantly had Voice of Israel Persian, BBC Persian and Voice of America Persian on his radio transistor in the store room every single evening blaring out news and analysis of the day’s events. And he wonders why I didn’t follow his footsteps!

But there is something very special about my local “SuperPharm” on the corner of Dizengoff and Gordon street in Tel Aviv.

Its like the microcosm of the Israel I dream about: its well organized, friendly but most important of all, its inclusive.

In my local branch you will find numerous Arab Israelis working as pharmacists, there is a deaf girl who works in the store room, Russian ladies in the make up section and there is a transgender person who serves at the check out counter. This is in addition to a range of Israelis from European and Middle Eastern heritages working in different positions.

Its so amazing to go there.

If Theodore Herzl had been alive, he would have wanted to shop there, just to see his version of Zionism in action, one which according to Israel’s declaration of independence:

“Will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

And what would he have bought at my local pharmacy?

Well I leave it up to you….tell me what you think…