/The total transcript: Naftali Bennett

The total transcript: Naftali Bennett

Naftali Bennett arrives for the weekly cupboard assembly in Jerusalem | Abir Sultan/AFP by way of Getty Photographs

The International Politico

Is the Bibi period over? A dialog with Naftali Bennett, the brash right-winger who needs to succeed Benjamin Netanyahu.

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Susan Glasser: Hello, that is Susan Glasser, and welcome to The International POLITICO. This week our visitor is Naftali Bennett, who’s one in every of Israel’s rising political stars. We’ll speak in regards to the political ferment in Israel, together with many different topics, in our dialog this week. Bennett was as soon as a detailed ally and accomplice of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Now, the prime minister is below investigation. It seems as if there are three separate instances pending towards him. His former chief of employees, his former spokesman, are cooperating. There’s a lot hypothesis that this long term in Israeli politics could lastly be coming to an finish.

Individuals are speaking about what’s going to occur after Bibi. I can’t consider anybody else higher to speak to you about that topic, and plenty of others, than Naftali Bennett, who’s a minister in Netanyahu’s cupboard proper now; one of many main figures on the Israeli proper. Naftali Bennett, thanks for becoming a member of us this week.

You’ve simply given one in every of your ordinary, I might say, very partaking talks right here on the annual AIPAC assembly. You talked rather a lot in regards to the Center East. And I’ve to say, I didn’t discover it to be a super-optimistic take. You stated we might be residing with Mideast chaos for the subsequent 10, 50, or 100 years extra. Actually, 100 years?

So it doesn’t sound to me such as you assume peace is breaking out any time quickly.

Naftali Bennett: Effectively, to begin with, nice to be right here, Susan. I’m joyful to speak to your listeners. I’m very optimistic, however lifelike. And , we can not outline the surroundings that we’re in. We don’t decide what the entire Center East will seem like. And proper now there’s enormous forces which were in play for lots of of years; the Shiite-Sunni divide taking part in very deep; the disintegration of nation states like Syria, like Iraq.

And these forces go properly past something native that has to do with Israel. Israel isn’t the epicenter of the Center East issues. And the query is—, that is the truth. What do you do within the face of that actuality? And my strategy, I name it the “lighthouse.” Israel is a democratic, outstanding state. A lighthouse throughout the storm. We are able to’t decide how lengthy this tsunami will go on. Will or not it’s 50 years, 10 years, 200 years? We simply don’t know.

However we don’t get depressed about it. We proceed constructing our superb nation with $40,000 GDP per capita; with the two million Arabs which might be turning into half and parcel of Israeli society. You already know, financial savings lives all around the globe with our applied sciences, with our intelligence; simply doing good. And due to this fact, I’m very optimistic. We’ll sadly must proceed heading off our enemies, comparable to Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS. Everybody I simply talked about is actually on our border. Actually.

Glasser: Which makes you a unprecedented factor should you’re an optimist in that scenario.

Bennett: I imply, from the very inception of the State of Israel, we’ve at all times been below existential risk. And it’s one thing fairly distinctive. You already know, no Belgian is below existential risk. Individuals will not be below existential risk. We’re, however we’ve grown accustomed to it. And it simply means one factor: we can not afford to lose any conflict. Now we have to stop wars as a lot as we will, however we’ve got to win them as a result of we don’t get a second probability.

And yeah, we’re smack in the course of essentially the most troublesome location on earth, however it’s truly lucky for the free world that we’re there as a result of we’re combating them. We’re combating—nowadays, we’re combating ISIS on the Syrian border. We’re combating Iran on the Syrian border. Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS, and the Sinai. And we’re doing the powerful work for the free world. And by doing it, form of stopping this tsunami from reaching the remainder of the world. And we’re happy with it, however on the similar time, main excellent lives.

You already know, I ran two high-tech firms only a decade in the past. Israel has the perfect ecosystem second solely to Silicon Valley on this planet. So that you’re proper, it’s this peculiar scenario the place, on the one hand, we’re threatened, however we don’t reside a lifetime of feeling threatened. We simply lead superb lives in Israel.

Glasser: Effectively, rather a lot to unpack there. Some folks concern that the prospects for battle within the quick time period may very well have gone up in consequence the Assad regime showing to reconsolidate a few of its energy in Syria. You may see extra of an opportunity of battle between Israel with Iranians, with Hezbollah. Is that one thing that’s regarding to you proper now?

Bennett: Effectively, sure. I feel conflict might be averted in the event that they perceive that we’re manner, manner stronger than all of our enemies mixed, and if we apply pressure when essential, and don’t apply pressure when not essential. Look, the large image is the next: I’ve coined a time period, the “octopus doctrine.” Primarily, we’ve acquired Iran, the top of this octopus, sending its arms to envelop Israel from the north, in Syria and Lebanon by means of its proxies. And within the south, in Gaza, by means of Hamas, which is a semi-proxy.

And I suppose what I’m pushing for in Israel is to focus our vitality on stemming Iran with diplomatic, financial, and different means as a result of they’ve been resistant to date. We’ve been combating their arms, however not their head. And it’s been form of this uneven scenario. We’ve acquired an issue. Iran needs to export terror and chaos. They’re dangerous guys. Not the Iranian folks, however the Iranian regime. The Persian individuals are great.

Glasser: There’s harder rhetoric popping out of Washington, in addition to Jerusalem nowadays, in relation to Iran. However do you see any particular change in coverage? It’s unclear to me, at this level, what new is going on on account of, say, the Trump administration having come to energy.

Bennett: Effectively, there’s the Israeli aspect after which there’s the American aspect. On the Israeli aspect, completely. We’re utilizing pressure to push again Iran in Syria. We’ve carried out a bunch of operations over the previous yr and years to stem this encroachment and this want to turn out to be an enormous empire. On the American aspect, we’ve got feeling that America has our again. We don’t count on America—and we’ve by no means anticipated American troopers to combat our battles, and we received’t. We’ll by no means ask America to ship troops to defend us. We’ll at all times defend ourselves, by ourselves, however we do want America giving us its backing.

Glasser: All proper. So, Naftali Bennett, we’re right here in Washington. You might be very savvy about politics. I’ve at all times discovered you to be savvy about politics. Not solely about Israeli politics, but additionally about what’s going on right here in the USA. A key relationship for Israel, in fact.

Yesterday, we noticed a particularly pleasant assembly between the prime minister of Israel and President Trump. Prime Minister Netanyahu in contrast President Trump to King Cyrus, to Harry Truman, to Lord Balfour. This looks as if an unlimited quantity of gratitude for a reasonably symbolic transfer in deciding to maneuver the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Is it price all of these encomiums, and what do you see the precise affect being on the bottom of this resolution? Lots of people had been very nervous that the affect could be to close down the peace course of.

Bennett: Effectively, to begin with, Prime Minister Netanyahu is articulating the final consensus of the Israeli public, left and proper, of gratitude in the direction of this very brave resolution. And President Trump was proper about one thing he stated. He stated all presidents promised it in the course of the marketing campaign, and he’s the one which delivered. That’s truly a fairly correct portrait of what occurred. We’ve seen all these AIPAC speeches over time, and he’s the primary man who got here and did it. And did each issues: acknowledged our capital and is transferring the embassy.

It’s greater than symbolic. To start with, I’ve to say, as a nation, that Jerusalem has been our capital for 3,000 years, undisputed capital. It’s been offensive that nobody on this planet acknowledges that easy reality. I imply, think about the way you’d really feel if the world didn’t acknowledge Washington, D.C. And it’s such an apparent factor that ought to have occurred manner way back, and it’s significant. Nevertheless it additionally has two implications, and also you form of talked about how will it have an effect on the peace course of.

I feel it’s a paradox, however truly it can enable, or speed up peace, or allow peace, and for 2 causes. One cause is, any peace that might have been predicated on dividing Jerusalem has no probability. And by taking Jerusalem off the desk, , it’s displaying the opposite aspect a tricky actuality, however it’s actuality. And form of by hiding this huge elephant within the room for therefore a few years, we knew that there’s no probability for peace.

However secondly, the Palestinians, over the previous 50 years, had a quite simple technique. Time was on their aspect, so that they’ll simply wait. And each time they wait, they get a greater deal. For those who look by means of ’93 by means of 2000, in 2007 the deal simply acquired higher. So why not wait? What he’s truly carried out is reverse that vector, that development, and abruptly, the Palestinians notice that point isn’t essentially on their aspect, and perhaps they need to begin transferring.

Glasser: Effectively, fast query, do you assume that the popularity of Jerusalem—there’s actually been quite a lot of debate about this—do you assume that it signifies that east Jerusalem can’t be the capital of a future Palestinian state?

Bennett: Effectively, it’s query, however my reply is sure. It does imply a united Jerusalem, although formally he didn’t—

Glasser: A united Jerusalem below the State of Israel?

Bennett: That’s appropriate. A united Jerusalem below the State of Israel.

Glasser: And also you assume that’s the U.S. interpretation, although they’re form of fudging it?

Bennett: Everybody’s form of evading that definition, and I’m talking not on behalf of the USA. That’s not my—

Glasser: Nevertheless it’s your interpretation?

Bennett: Sure, it’s. I’ll inform you why. As a result of if you say “Jerusalem,” , you’re taking 100 folks on the road, you ask them, “What’s Jerusalem?” In the event that they’ve heard of Jerusalem, they’ll say, “Oh, it’s the Western Wall,” and perhaps, “The Temple Mount.” Nobody’s going to inform you it’s some constructing in—I don’t know—the Knesset.

So Jerusalem is Jerusalem. And , you say “Paris,” you consider the Eiffel Tower. So if you say Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, it has to imply the traditional metropolis. That’s actually on the crux of all of this. The traditional metropolis, the 4 quarters. And as soon as that half is off the desk, , everybody is aware of what Jerusalem means. It’s the traditional metropolis. It’s the Mount of Olives. It’s the town of David. After which there’s different areas that are extra within the periphery, and that may be disputed.

Glasser: It was uncommon a number of weeks in the past—truly, the USA and Israel typically have been fairly carefully aligned since President Trump took energy. However there was an uncommon rebuke from a White Home spokesman of Prime Minister Netanyahu, saying that it wasn’t true, reviews that the U.S. officers had mentioned an annexation plan for the West Financial institution. What are you choosing up about that? I imply, is {that a} chance so far as you’re involved, each on the Israeli aspect, and is it one thing the Individuals are prepared to contemplate?

Bennett: Effectively, I can speak in regards to the Israeli aspect. I can not communicate for the Individuals. My sense, to begin with, is that the president needs to present peace an opportunity. That sounded good.

Glasser: I’ve heard that track.

Bennett: Yeah. He actually needs to present it a stab. I’m not very optimistic in regards to the probabilities. You see Mahmoud Abbas. You see the Palestinians. They’ve acquired a failed, corrupt state. There’s nothing going there.

Glasser: They’re not speaking in the intervening time to the Individuals, so it’s fairly onerous to see the Individuals dealer peace.

Bennett: They’re not speaking to the Individuals; not speaking to the Israelis. They’ve form of fell in love with being the sufferer, the everlasting sufferer, although there’s a lot great things that we will do collectively. As a result of I do wish to say this, as essentially the most hawkish chief in Israel, I’m the primary one to say, , they’re not going anyplace, we’re not going anyplace. There’s Palestinians. There’s Israelis. There’s no huge love within the air, however nobody’s evaporating. We’re all there collectively.

And we’ve acquired to determine how can we reside the subsequent 100 years side-by-side, as peacefully as doable, with mutual dignity and respect. And I’d deal with that; on high quality of life; on self-governing; on the deserves of autonomy on steroids, if you’ll, versus proceed bashing our heads into the wall on this very fruitless endeavor of the previous 20 years.

Glasser: Do you assume, although, that annexation is a chance?

Bennett: Yeah. I don’t name it an annexation as a result of annexing is annexing one thing that’s not yours. It’s one thing international. Right here we’re speaking in regards to the historical land of Israel, which is Jewish, is Israeli, although there’s Palestinians residing there. So what we might wish to do is apply Israeli regulation on that space. And I, in reality, was the man who initiated the well-known plan six years in the past. It’s referred to as the “Bennett plan,” basically making use of Israeli regulation on the Israeli-controlled areas.

Glasser: However do you assume it’s one thing that the Individuals are extra open to now?

Bennett: Effectively, I feel that proper now they wish to give an opportunity to the large deal. You already know, the well-known deal.

Glasser: Yeah, what’s the huge deal? Is that occuring?

Bennett: I don’t know.

Glasser: Individuals are skeptical.

Bennett: I don’t know. I imply, President Trump yesterday was requested, “What occurs if the Palestinians don’t come to the desk?” He gave a quite simple reply. He stated, “Effectively, there received’t be peace.” I discovered {that a} very fascinating reply. That’s appropriate. You already know, we’d love them to return to the desk. It doesn’t appear it’s going to occur.

Glasser: No, do you continue to—

Bennett: And we’re 51 years on.

Glasser: Effectively, do you continue to assume that the administration goes to launch a peace plan? They talked about doing that, however, in fact, the deadline retains happening and on. I talked with one influential ambassador from the area the opposite day who thought there was no plan. At the least nothing that might be launched.

Bennett: I don’t know. I don’t know. I feel it’s very elusive. America has two choices. If you come out with a plan, you both coordinate it with each side prematurely, to some extent, after which deliver it ahead, otherwise you don’t, and also you deliver it ahead. In the event that they’re attempting to coordinate, I feel they’re discovering it fairly troublesome as a result of the basic challenge is that the minimal that they’d agree for, and the utmost that we’d be prepared to present simply don’t coincide. And that’s been accompanying us for the previous 25 years.

However he has the opposite choice, the unilateral choice, to simply say, “That is the deal and we wish to hear your response.” And that will occur.

Glasser: So that you’re a politician, and naturally, one of many elements that may feed into this peace course of, to the extent there may be one, is the politics of it. And , you will have a scenario the place each Prime Minister Netanyahu, in addition to President Trump right here, are each below investigations that appear to be growing in steam. I imagine that each President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu have referred to as the investigations focused at them a “witch hunt” in current days. You had the prime minister’s former chief of employees, his former spokesman, each apparently are cooperating with prosecutors on this investigation.

You have got been considerably essential, whereas stopping wanting drawing any conclusions about these. You stated in a current speech that “receiving items so extensively, for therefore lengthy, doesn’t meet the expectations of the citizenry of the State of Israel,” in reference to Prime Minister Netanyahu on this probe. To start with, how critical is it, and what does it do to the politics of Israel?

Bennett: Effectively, it’s difficult. The prime minister is below many various investigations, and it’s definitely not a nice interval in Israel. I received’t say it’s. And I’d additionally say there’s an excellent diploma of polarization in Israel, not not like what we see right here within the States, to some extent. And I don’t like that. I don’t like all that polarization. I feel we’ve got to—that is coming from the hawkish man, me—however I feel that we’ve got to have a tradition of discourse that it’s not all black and white; there’s grey within the center.

Setting that apart, I don’t know what’s going to occur. It’s being investigated proper now. I do assume that it’s mistaken to demand that the prime minister step down simply because he’s being investigated. That might be anti-democratic. He’s not even been charged with one factor so far.

Glasser: But when he’s charged, does that change the—

Bennett: Effectively, if he’s charged, I assume we’d go to elections. That’s simply what would occur if he’s charged with these prices. Although I’ll say that, , I’ll make that ultimate resolution, from my perspective, as a significant celebration within the coalition, solely once I see what he’s charged about, how extreme it’s, and what’s the final scenario; , what’s happening with Iran.

Israel is completely different from each nation as a result of we don’t have the posh to make huge errors. We are able to make small errors, however huge ones can threat our folks.

Glasser: Do you assume it’s a “witch hunt”?

Bennett: I assist our police and our investigators, however I need to say there’s a unprecedented quantity of vitality being invested in these investigations, virtually unprecedented. So I received’t say that there’s a witch hunt, however you may see there’s quite a lot of vitality that’s being invested in signing up state witnesses, one after one other. That doesn’t imply that he’s responsible.

Now, what does it do to politics? Israel’s very fascinating right here. What it’s doing is the next: to begin with, so far as I can see—and I see the prime minister many occasions per week, each within the cupboard and within the internal safety cupboard—and he’s functioning properly. It’s truly fairly outstanding that below this duress, below this strain, he is available in and it appears as if it’s all quiet on the market and we will deal with issues. And I don’t see any unusual or mistaken motives infiltrating safety discussions.

You already know, there was a thesis a number of weeks in the past that he may be attempting to warmth up the area. No, he’s not.

Glasser: The “wag the canine” situation. We at all times consider that film.

Bennett: That’s appropriate. So completely not. In truth, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been recognized to be very cautious about utilizing pressure, and really cautious—have a look at throughout tenure, throughout his two phrases, we didn’t have a conflict. Effectively, we had the Gaza battle, that’s true.

Glasser: Proper, on the very finish of the Bush administration.

Bennett: Yeah. Now, there’s an fascinating dynamic within the public, although. Many within the public circle the wagons behind the prime minister, and do really feel that there’s a witch hunt. After which form of a rallying behind him, and due to this fact his assist, in reality, is rising on account of these—in Israel.

Glasser: You imply within the public polls?

Bennett: Within the public polls, yeah.

Glasser: Effectively, that’s led some folks to assume that he may name elections even earlier, snap elections, with the intention to shore up his base.

Bennett: He may.

Glasser: So that you assume that’s an actual chance?

Bennett: It’s a chance. There’s just one one who know if he does, and that’s him. In Israel, the prime minister may be very, very highly effective. If he’s decided to go to elections, there will probably be elections. I, by the way in which, assume it might be a mistake. We’ve acquired a authorities that’s been operating for about two years and eight months; a bit greater than half of the total time period. However I feel it’s dangerous for any state, any nation, to go on too frequent elections. We’d like stability.

Glasser: Effectively, you’ve had a outstanding diploma of stability below Prime Minister Netanyahu. He’s already turn out to be the longest-serving prime minister since David Ben-Gurion, and is in difficult vary to really beat that document. I feel it’s 2019, proper—

Bennett: I feel so.

Glasser: —which have him surpassing that document. And but, this disaster across the investigation, wherever it leads, has definitely led folks right into a dialog about what comes after Bibi. And you’ll’t say this, however I can, a lot of individuals are speaking about you as a future prime minister of Israel. Is that one thing that you just, at some point, wish to see your self difficult for?

Bennett: Sure. After the period of Netanyahu, I intend to be the prime minister of Israel. I’ve acquired quite a lot of work to do, as a result of for a lot of causes, it’s very powerful from my present place to achieve that. However completely. I don’t intend to be a rival of Netanyahu. I feel he’s doing a good job. We’ve had our disagreements, et cetera, however I feel as a first-rate minister, he’s definitely doing a good job. So I stand behind him. But when he steps down, I completely intend to contend and turn out to be the subsequent prime minister.

Glasser: Effectively, after Netanyahu, folks count on that there could be form of a significant reorganization on the best. And also you alluded to a number of the challenges that you’ve. One in all them, as I perceive it, is that your celebration, Jewish Dwelling, which is a member of the prime minister’s coalition, has quite a lot of extraordinarily conservative figures in its base, who may be a problem for you as you face a basic voters in Israel.

Bennett: That’s appropriate. I’ve a major job to revamp my celebration; to open it up. You already know, traditionally, my celebration was the celebration of Orthodox Jews, fashionable Orthodox Jews, in Israel. And I got here, and I stated, “No, that’s not our mission.” I used to be form of a no one. Nobody knew who I’m.

Glasser: And by the way in which, inform our listeners, I imply, you had been very near Prime Minister Netanyahu. Inform us the two-second story of how you bought—

Bennett: My two-second story, 30 seconds, grew up in Israel. My English is as a result of my dad and mom are from San Francisco, Berkeley.

Glasser: It’s not simply since you’re an excellent pupil?

Bennett: No, I used to be lucky. In truth, they had been the extremely left-wingers. My grandfather, I feel, with communist opinions in San Francisco within the ’50s and ’60s. So, not highly regarded. Anyway, they got here to Israel, then I served within the army; based a startup firm, bought it, after which had the Second Lebanon Warfare. I used to be referred to as into command troops behind enemy strains within the Second Lebanon Warfare, and that modified my life.

I made a decision to go away the high-tech enviornment, which I’m nonetheless very enthusiastic about, and to affix Netanyahu as his chief of employees for a few years, in ’06. And I extremely respect Netanyahu, however we do have variations in opinion. And yeah, my celebration then was a contemporary Orthodox celebration. And I stated, “No, no, no. We wish to open it up for all Israelis.” I referred to as it the “Jewish Dwelling,” versus the “Orthodox Dwelling;” introduced in secular folks. And it’s extra open, however not open sufficient.

And that’s one in every of my challenges, as a result of proper now I’m positioned on the intense aspect. And , I’m a extra central determine in Israel.

Glasser: May you ever envision a scenario the place you’d rejoin the Likud Occasion or that it actually could be revamped considerably after Netanyahu?

Bennett: Effectively, I feel after Netanyahu—I’m not urgent him to go, as I stated, and he’s doing job. I feel we would wish a giant bang in the best aspect, form of a unification of many events, to be one central entrance. Not not like America, proper, the place there’s two main events, after which you will have caucuses, you will have completely different flavors inside every celebration. I feel that might be a more healthy construction for Israel.

Glasser: Somewhat than all these little events?

Bennett: That’s appropriate. Not that it doesn’t work, however I feel it’s one thing that we should always try for.

Glasser: We’re sitting right here in Washington, clearly, and I feel truly the prime minister is giving his speech to AIPAC proper as we’re having this dialog. Why is Israel one of many solely nations in the entire world the place views of President Trump are extra favorable than views of Barack Obama? And what do you assume the long-term implications are for 2 nations which were very shut, however the place there’s now a partisan taste to that alliance?

Bennett: That’s a really salient level. Israel shouldn’t be a partisan challenge. It must be bipartisan. And I wish to clarify this, why, after which form of play into your query. The truth that we’re there, the truth that we’re a free, open, very debating society. You already know, it’s Jews for heaven’s sake, so all of us argue all day. It’s a wonderful democracy within the coronary heart of the hardest place on Earth. You already know, we’ve acquired Syria, ISIS, and Hezbollah on our borders.

That could be a enormous nationwide curiosity for the USA of America as a result of, if you’ll, we’re form of this enormous, enormous plane provider, however you don’t have to ship a ship. You don’t have to ship troops. You don’t have to ship gear. We’re there.

Glasser: However we’ve got been sending gear.

Bennett: Gear, that’s proper.

Glasser: Now we have been sending cash.

Bennett: Yeah, however it’s manner cheaper than should you’d must—cheaper in lives and cheaper in price. And we’re doing good for the world in so many elements. Now, your query was in regards to the Israeli public sentiment to President Trump. As a result of Israel, as I discussed twice already, is a rustic that’s in existential risk just about at all times due to the scenario. Now we have to have a look at our safety as paramount. And that’s our prime curiosity. It trumps—pardon the pun—however it trumps different components.

When somebody is so supportive of Israel, we’re grateful, and that’s very pure. Now—

Glasser: You don’t fear about Trump not being an trustworthy dealer? I imply, there’s a threat, isn’t there, in aligning his pursuits so carefully with the coverage viewpoints of the Israeli authorities?

Bennett: I feel Trump is aligning the pursuits of the USA of America. What he’s doing is strengthening America. However I do assume that there’s one downside, and that’s that inside the USA, Israel is positioned increasingly more as a partisan, as a Republican trigger. And that’s not what we’re. In truth, traditionally, —

Glasser: No, it’s a giant shift.

Bennett: It’s a huge shift, and it’s not shift, and it’s not one which we wish.

Glasser: Have you ever met President Trump your self?

Bennett: I’ve.

Glasser: What did you consider him?

Bennett: Effectively, it was very quick. When he got here to Israel, I shook his hand, and I stated, “Mr. President, this wasn’t within the playing cards. You’ll be able to go down in historical past as the primary man who acknowledged Jerusalem because the Jewish capital.” And he stated, “Oh, that’s an concept.” This was on his go to again then. I don’t know him properly. I communicate to a few of his people on an ongoing foundation. They’re very educated about Israel.

Glasser: Have you ever talked with Jared Kushner?

Bennett: I don’t wish to go into the names. I’ve spoken to a lot of his folks. Very educated of Israel, very constructive about Israel, which I feel is okay. From an American standpoint, it’s okay to be very pleasant with an ally who has been at all times favorable and so near America for therefore a few years. So I feel that is smart.

Glasser: Would you evaluate him to King Cyrus?

Bennett: I feel what the prime minister meant within the comparability is within the impact that his declaration had on the Jewish folks. And in historical past, there’s a number of well-known declarations. Certainly, King Cyrus declared that the Jews can come again and reside within the State of Israel. This was properly over 2,000 years in the past. I’d say 2,500 years about. Balfour, about 100 years in the past, declared Israel because the Jewish dwelling. This can be a main declaration that may go down in historical past. In that sense, I feel it’s a main declaration.

Glasser: So if we sit down a yr from now and we revisit this podcast if you come again for subsequent yr’s AIPAC, a pair questions. Do you assume that Benjamin Netanyahu will nonetheless be prime minister of Israel?

Bennett: I hope so. And it is a unusual factor as a result of we’re political rivals. I don’t know in case your listeners perceive, in Israel, I compete with Netanyahu. Throughout the elections, it’s a zero-sum sport. You vote for him or for me. But, I feel for the great of Israel, I might not wish to see Netanyahu step down due to—, for prison investigation causes. I need free elections.

However, I’ve to say, he has been a first-rate minister for a really very long time, and that’s fairly distinctive on the worldwide stage.

Glasser: So that you say you’d prefer to be prime minister sometime. What do assume Israel most wants in a frontrunner proper now?

Bennett: Effectively, I feel two components. Israelis need somebody who can run the nation properly. I additionally assume that it’s time for somebody who can pose an instance on the values and the way in which we conduct ourselves. And that was what I used to be alluding to once I stated that on an ethical foundation, , folks ought to not take items. However finally, that’s the choice of the voters. So I might wish to be a frontrunner by instance, and likewise to run the nation properly. It’s two various things.

I’m unsure although—I imply, on the instance half, I’m unsure that could be a main factor within the political world anyplace proper now.

Glasser: You imply there’s no good examples on this planet?

Bennett: No. After I stated that, I began interested by it a bit extra, and I’m unsure that’s one thing that voters care about that a lot, as a lot as they used to. You already know, we had Menachem Start and David Ben-Gurion, who went right down to the desert, to reside within the desert for example so younger folks will comply with him. I’m unsure that’s a giant challenge. I’m unsure that younger folks view their leaders as a possible instance. I don’t know. It’s a giant query.

Glasser: Effectively, I don’t know. Because the schooling minister, you’re miserable me once more. So we’ll must revisit that query.

Bennett: I don’t wish to depress you as a result of I do wish to say one factor particularly about Israel, as a result of I don’t know what goes on within the States. Twelfth graders, not less than in Israel, we’re experiencing the best numbers of volunteering. You already know, in Israel, everybody has to go to the military. So many, many Israelis are deferring by one yr their military service, their obligatory military service, with the intention to volunteer one other yr in agriculture; in serving to folks in low socioeconomic areas. Wonderful.

So I’m very optimistic about our future. However it is a particular angle that must be explored.

Glasser: Naftali Bennett, he’s our visitor this week on The International POLITICO. Thanks for visiting us in Washington. We’ll stay up for come visiting you throughout Israel’s election marketing campaign, each time which may be.

Bennett: Thanks very a lot. This was nice.

Glasser: Thanks.

Susan Glasser is POLITICO’s chief worldwide affairs columnist and host of its weekly podcast, The International POLITICO. Subscribe to The International POLITICO on Apple Podcasts here. Subscribe by way of Stitcher here.