Middle East

Who is Naftali Bennett, premier-to-be of Israel?

‘I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there’s no problem with that,’ Bennett once said

Turgut Alp Boyraz   | 03.06.2021
Who is Naftali Bennett, premier-to-be of Israel?

JERUSALEM 

Naftali Bennett, the 49-year-old future prime minister of Israel known for adopting a religious and nationalist stance, is known for his anti-Palestine views. 

Bennett entered politics in 2005 as a deputy of Benjamin Netanyahu and will remove Netanyahu from his premiership status of 12 years if he receives a vote of confidence in parliament.

"I've killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there's no problem with that," Bennet, a former Israeli commando, once said.

The Israeli politician became a millionaire thanks to a tech company he built from scratch and has always appealed to far-right voters in Israel during his political career.

Bennett argues that Israel should annex parts of the occupied Palestinian regions in the West Bank. He has held many positions on the political front, including minister roles in the economy and education ministries.

After Israel and the Palestinian resistance group Hamas forged a cease-fire to end attacks by Israel that targeted Gaza in May and killed 254 Palestinians, Bennett and Netanyahu's rival in the main opposition -- Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid -- agreed to form a coalition.

According to an agreement between the two politicians, Yamina's leader Bennett, represented by seven lawmakers in parliament, will assume the premiership for the first two years, whereas Lapid will later take over this role.

It seems complicated for the eight-party coalition -- composed of various segments including right, left, central and Islamist parties representing Palestinians with Israeli citizenship -- to last long.

Bennett's parents were born in the US and his aggressive rhetoric against Palestinians has always made headlines during his political career. He was elected as head of the Jewish Home party in 2012.

In 2013, he delivered controversial remarks in which he said "Palestinian terrorists" should be killed instead of being released.

He also claimed that the West Bank was not under occupation and there was no such thing as a Palestinian state.

He renamed Jewish Home to Yamina in 2018 and took part in the coalition led by Netanyahu. His party secured seven seats in the general elections of March 23. 

*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas

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