Naftali Bennett, who on Sunday moved a step nearer to changing Israel’s veteran premier Benjamin Netanyahu, is a multi-millionaire former tech entrepreneur who made a reputation in politics with hardline religious-nationalist rhetoric.
The 49-year-old, who has made pitches to hard-right voters all through his profession, leads the Yamina social gathering, which has referred to as for Israel to annex elements of the occupied West Bank.
A bald politician with a discrete kippa and ideal American English, he’s ultra-liberal on the financial system and takes a tough line towards Israel’s arch-foe, Iran.
He shares this ideology with Netanyahu and has served in a number of of the Likud chief’s governments, however lately the 2 have turn out to be more and more opposed.
In the aftermath of 11 days of lethal preventing with Palestinian militants within the Gaza Strip, Bennett lastly agreed to affix centrist Yair Lapid in a coalition to oust the premier, who has been in energy for 12 consecutive years in addition to an earlier three-year time period.
Lapid has supplied to share energy, letting Bennett serve the primary time period in a rotating premiership.
In a speech late Sunday, Bennett claimed leftist events would again him to steer a coalition authorities.
“The left is making far from easy compromises here, when it bestows upon me… the role of Prime Minister,” he stated.
Lapid has till late Wednesday to cobble collectively a 61-seat coalition within the 120-seat Knesset.
Religious-nationalist Yamina gained seven seats within the nation’s final basic elections in March, though one member has refused to affix an anti-Netanyahu coalition.
West Bank ‘not occupied’
A former particular forces commando, Bennett is the son of US-born dad and mom and lives along with his spouse Galit and 4 youngsters within the central metropolis of Raanana.
He entered politics after promoting his tech start-up for $145 million in 2005, and the subsequent 12 months turned chief of employees to Netanyahu, who was then in opposition.
After leaving Netanyahu’s workplace, Bennett in 2010 turned head of the Yesha Council, which lobbies for Jewish settlers within the West Bank.
He then took politics by storm in 2012 when he took cost of the hard-right Jewish Home social gathering, which was dealing with annihilation.
He elevated its parliamentary presence fourfold, whereas making headlines with a collection of incendiary feedback concerning the Palestinians.
In 2013, he stated Palestinian “terrorists should be killed, not released”.
He additionally argued that the West Bank will not be below occupation as a result of “there was never a Palestinian state here”, and that the Israeli-Palestinian battle couldn’t be resolved however have to be endured, like a chunk of “shrapnel in the buttocks”.
Beyond holding the defence portfolio, Bennett has served as Netanyahu’s financial system minister and schooling minister.
He re-branded Jewish Home as Yamina (Rightward) in 2018, and was a part of Netanyahu’s coalition which collapsed the identical 12 months.
But he was not requested to affix a Netanyahu-led unity authorities in May final 12 months — a transfer seen as an expression of the premier’s private contempt in the direction of him, regardless of their shared ideology.
In opposition and with the coronavirus pandemic raging in 2020, Bennett dampened his right-wing rhetoric to give attention to the well being disaster, shifting to broaden his attraction by releasing plans to comprise the virus and support the financial system.
“In the next years we need to put aside politics and issues like annexation or a Palestinian state, and focus on gaining control over the coronavirus pandemic, healing the economy and mending internal rifts,” he instructed Israel’s broadly listened-to military radio in November.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)