The future of #Israel: A Conversation With Naftali Bennett, Minister of Economy

Naftali Bennet is the head of the right-wing Bayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party. He was also a member of the security cabinet and the recent coalition as the minister of Economy. His party is so against the peace process that in the past he has advocated annexing 60% of the West Bank. I have written about him before.

At the same time, he is someone who is a real competitor to Benjamin Netanyahu. He is someone who could one day lead Israel’s right. Why do I think that? because I sincerely believe that he truly represents the aspirations and world view of a major part of Israel’s pro-settlement movement.

Do I agree with their world view? no.  But this is a part of Israeli society which can not and must not be ignored. We are all part of the same country, and we must listen to each other.

I strongly recommend watching and listening to Naftali Bennet’s conversation with former US ambassador to Israel Martyn Indyk at the recent Saban Forum.

With thanks to my student Joshua Rodin for alerting me about this interview.

At the UN, Netanyahu was at his weakest

Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the UN tonight.

What was different this time was that his position at home is more precarious compared to recent years. Naftali Benet is gaining on him and his popularity has fallen after the recent war in Gaza. And it could get worst if there is renewed rocket fire against Israel’s southern cities.

So this is why this year he sounded even more despondent than other years regarding the prospects of peace between Israel and Palestine.

But he did not disappoint. I mean who on earth believes him when every year he says he is ready for peace and every year he builds more settlements. This is something which hurts the credibility of Israel’s case abroad, and the peace process. This is not to say the other side is blameless, but nevertheless, the continuous settlement building isolates Israel and makes it hard for its friend to defend its case abroad.

And to try to equate Iran with ISIS? Not many people seem to have accepted his narrative on this topic.

I repeat what I said last year after his UN speech, because it’s still valid:

Israel has a very legitimate case against the Iranian regime’s current nuclear program, it’s just unfortunate that Benjamin Netanyahu has to present it.