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Who is Naftali Bennet? Israel’s new prime minister, represents generational shift in nation’s politics

The 49-year-old shares Benjamin Netanyahu’s hawkish strategy to the West Asia battle, however the two have had tense relations through the years

Jerusalem: Naftali Bennett, who was sworn in Sunday as Israel’s new prime minister, embodies most of the contradictions that outline the 73-year-old nation.

He’s a spiritual Jew who made thousands and thousands within the largely secular hi-tech sector; a champion of the settlement motion who lives in a Tel Aviv suburb; a former ally of Benjamin Netanyahu who has partnered with centrist and left-wing events to finish his 12-year rule.

His ultranationalist Yamina get together received simply seven seats within the 120-member Knesset in March elections — the fourth such vote in two years. But by refusing to decide to Netanyahu or his opponents, Bennett positioned himself as kingmaker. Even after one member of his spiritual nationalist get together deserted him to protest the brand new coalition deal, he ended up with the crown.

Here’s a have a look at Israel’s subsequent chief:

An ultranationalist with a reasonable coalition

Bennett has lengthy positioned himself to the correct of Netanyahu. But he can be severely constrained by his unwieldy coalition, which has solely a slim majority in parliament and contains events from the correct, left and middle.

He is against Palestinian independence and strongly helps Jewish settlements within the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians and far of the worldwide neighborhood see as a serious impediment to peace.

Bennett fiercely criticized Netanyahu after the prime minister agreed to sluggish settlement building beneath stress from President Barack Obama, who tried and did not revive the peace course of early in his first time period.

He briefly served as head of the West Bank settler’s council, Yesha, earlier than coming into the Knesset in 2013. Bennett later served as cupboard minister of diaspora affairs, schooling and protection in numerous Netanyahu-led governments.

“He’s a right-wing chief, a safety hardliner, however on the similar time very pragmatic,” mentioned Yohanan Plesner, head of the Israel Democracy Institute, who has identified Bennett for many years and served with him within the navy.

He expects Bennett to have interaction with different factions to discover a “common denominator” as he seeks assist and legitimacy as a nationwide chief.

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Rivalry with Netanyahu

The 49-year-old father of 4 shares Netanyahu’s hawkish strategy to the West Asia battle, however the two have had tense relations through the years.

Bennett served as Netanyahu’s chief of employees for 2 years, however they parted methods after a mysterious falling out that Israeli media linked to Netanyahu’s spouse, Sara, who wields nice affect over her husband’s internal circle.

Bennett campaigned as a right-wing stalwart forward of the March elections and signed a pledge on nationwide TV saying he would by no means permit Yair Lapid, a centrist and Netanyahu’s most important rival, to develop into prime minister.

But when it grew to become clear Netanyahu was unable to kind a ruling coalition, that is precisely what Bennett did, agreeing to function prime minister for 2 years earlier than handing energy to Lapid, the architect of the brand new coalition.

Netanyahu’s supporters have branded Bennett a traitor, saying he defrauded voters. Bennett has defended his choice as a practical transfer geared toward unifying the nation and avoiding a fifth spherical of elections.

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A generational shift

Bennett, a father of 4 and a contemporary Orthodox Jew, can be Israel’s first prime minister who repeatedly wears a kippa, the skullcap worn by observant Jews. He lives within the upscale Tel Aviv suburb of Raanana, moderately than the settlements he champions.

Bennett started life along with his American-born mother and father in Haifa, then bounced along with his household between North America and Israel, navy service, legislation faculty and the non-public sector. Throughout, he’s curated a persona that’s directly trendy, spiritual and nationalist.

After serving within the elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit, Bennett went to legislation faculty at Hebrew University. In 1999, he co-founded Cyota, an anti-fraud software program firm that was bought in 2005 to U.S.-based RSA Security for $145 million.

Bennett has mentioned the bitter expertise of Israel’s 2006 battle towards the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah drove him to politics. The monthlong battle ended inconclusively, and Israel’s navy and political management on the time was broadly criticized as bungling the marketing campaign.

Bennett represents a 3rd era of Israeli leaders, after the founders of the state and Netanyahu’s era, which got here of age throughout the nation’s tense early years marked by repeated wars with Arab states.

“He’s Israel 3.0,” Anshel Pfeffer, a columnist for Israel’s left-leaning Haaretz newspaper, wrote in a current profile of Bennett.

“A Jewish nationalist but not really dogmatic. A bit religious, but certainly not devout. A military man who prefers the comforts of civilian urban life and a high-tech entrepreneur who isn’t looking to make any more millions. A supporter of the Greater Land of Israel but not a settler. And he may well not be a lifelong politician either.”

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