/The total transcript: Naftali Bennett

The total transcript: Naftali Bennett

Naftali Bennett arrives for the weekly cupboard assembly in Jerusalem | Abir Sultan/AFP through Getty Photos

The International Politico

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

gp-badgeSubscribe to The International POLITICO on Apple Podcasts here. | Subscribe through Stitcher here.

Susan Glasser: Hello, that is Susan Glasser, and welcome to The International POLITICO. This week our visitor is Naftali Bennett, who’s one in all Israel’s rising political stars. We’ll discuss 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 beneath investigation. It seems as if there are three separate circumstances 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 might lastly be coming to an finish.

Persons 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 all your regular, I’d say, very participating talks right here on the annual AIPAC assembly. You talked quite a bit in regards to the Center East. And I’ve to say, I didn’t discover it to be a super-optimistic take. You mentioned we could possibly be residing with Mideast chaos for the following 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 start with, nice to be right here, Susan. I’m glad to speak to your listeners. I’m very optimistic, however sensible. And , we can not outline the atmosphere that we’re in. We don’t decide what the entire Center East will appear like. And proper now there’s enormous forces which have been 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 shouldn’t be 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 method, I name it the “lighthouse.” Israel is a democratic, outstanding state. A lighthouse throughout the storm. We will’t decide how lengthy this tsunami will go on. Will 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 are turning into half and parcel of Israeli society. You understand, financial savings lives all world wide with our applied sciences, with our intelligence; simply doing good. And subsequently, I’m very optimistic. We’ll sadly need to proceed warding off our enemies, similar to Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS. Everybody I simply talked about is actually on our border. Actually.

Glasser: Which makes you a rare factor when you’re an optimist in that state of affairs.

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

And yeah, we’re smack in the midst of essentially the most tough location on earth, nevertheless it’s truly lucky for the free world that we’re there as a result of we’re preventing them. We’re preventing—nowadays, we’re preventing ISIS on the Syrian border. We’re preventing 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, kind of stopping this tsunami from reaching the remainder of the world. And we’re happy with it, however on the identical time, main superb lives.

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

Glasser: Effectively, quite a bit to unpack there. Some folks worry that the prospects for battle within the brief time period may very well have gone up because of this 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 believe warfare might be averted in the event that they perceive that we’re approach, approach stronger than all of our enemies mixed, and if we apply pressure when mandatory, and don’t apply pressure when not mandatory. Look, the massive image is the next: I’ve coined a time period, the “octopus doctrine.” Primarily, we’ve acquired Iran, the pinnacle of this octopus, sending its arms to envelop Israel from the north, in Syria and Lebanon via its proxies. And within the south, in Gaza, via 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 proof against date. We’ve been preventing their arms, however not their head. And it’s been kind of this uneven state of affairs. We’ve acquired an issue. Iran desires to export terror and chaos. They’re unhealthy 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 terms of 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 achieved a bunch of operations over the previous yr and years to stem this encroachment and this need to grow to be an enormous empire. On the American aspect, we’ve a great 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’re 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 US. A key relationship for Israel, after all.

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 like 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 fearful that the affect can be to close down the peace course of.

Bennett: Effectively, to start with, Prime Minister Netanyahu is articulating the overall consensus of the Israeli public, left and proper, of gratitude in direction of this very brave resolution. And President Trump was proper about one thing he mentioned. He mentioned all presidents promised it through 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. Initially, 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 the 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 approach way back, and it’s significant. However it additionally has two implications, and also you kind of talked about how will it have an effect on the peace course of.

I believe it’s a paradox, however truly it’ll enable, or speed up peace, or allow peace, and for 2 causes. One motive 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 kind of by hiding this large elephant within the room for thus 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. In the event you look via ’93 via 2000, in 2007 the deal simply acquired higher. So why not wait? What he’s truly achieved is reverse that vector, that pattern, and immediately, the Palestinians understand that point shouldn’t be 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 a variety of debate about this—do you assume that it implies that east Jerusalem can’t be the capital of a future Palestinian state?

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

Glasser: A united Jerusalem beneath the State of Israel?

Bennett: That’s right. A united Jerusalem beneath the State of Israel.

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

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

Glasser: However it’s your interpretation?

Bennett: Sure, it’s. I’ll let you know why. As a result of once 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 let you know 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 once 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 couple of weeks in the past—truly, the US and Israel usually have been fairly intently 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, stories that the U.S. officers had mentioned an annexation plan for the West Financial institution. What are you selecting up about that? I imply, is {that a} risk so far as you’re involved, each on the Israeli aspect, and is it one thing the People are prepared to contemplate?

Bennett: Effectively, I can discuss in regards to the Israeli aspect. I can not communicate for the People. My sense, to start with, is that the president desires to provide peace an opportunity. That sounded good.

Glasser: I’ve heard that music.

Bennett: Yeah. He actually desires to provide it a stab. I’m not very optimistic in regards to the possibilities. 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 People, so it’s fairly laborious to see the People dealer peace.

Bennett: They’re not speaking to the People; not speaking to the Israelis. They’ve kind of fell in love with being the sufferer, the everlasting sufferer, regardless that there’s a lot good 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 wherever, we’re not going wherever. There’s Palestinians. There’s Israelis. There’s no large love within the air, however nobody’s evaporating. We’re all there collectively.

And we’ve acquired to determine how will we dwell the following 100 years side-by-side, as peacefully as potential, 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 risk?

Bennett: Yeah. I don’t name it an annexation as a result of annexing is annexing one thing that isn’t yours. It’s one thing overseas. 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 legislation on that space. And I, in actual fact, was the man who initiated the well-known plan six years in the past. It’s known as the “Bennett plan,” primarily making use of Israeli legislation on the Israeli-controlled areas.

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

Bennett: Effectively, I believe that proper now they wish to give an opportunity to the massive deal. You understand, the well-known deal.

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

Bennett: I don’t know.

Glasser: Persons 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 mentioned, “Effectively, there received’t be peace.” I discovered {that a} very attention-grabbing reply. That’s right. You understand, we’d love them to come back 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, after all, the deadline retains happening and on. I talked with one influential ambassador from the area the opposite day who thought there was no plan. No less than nothing that might be launched.

Bennett: I don’t know. I don’t know. I believe it’s very elusive. The USA has two choices. If you come out with a plan, you both coordinate it with either side prematurely, to a point, after which deliver it ahead, otherwise you don’t, and also you deliver it ahead. In the event that they’re making an attempt to coordinate, I believe they’re discovering it fairly tough as a result of the elemental situation is that the minimal that they’d agree for, and the utmost that we’d be prepared to provide simply don’t coincide. And that’s been accompanying us for the previous 25 years.

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

Glasser: So that you’re a politician, and naturally, one of many elements that can feed into this peace course of, to the extent there’s one, is the politics of it. And , you’ve gotten a state of affairs the place each Prime Minister Netanyahu, in addition to President Trump right here, are each beneath investigations that appear to be growing in steam. I imagine that each President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu have known 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 could have been considerably important, whereas stopping in need of drawing any conclusions about these. You mentioned in a current speech that “receiving items so extensively, for thus lengthy, doesn’t meet the expectations of the citizenry of the State of Israel,” in reference to Prime Minister Netanyahu on this probe. Initially, how critical is it, and what does it do to the politics of Israel?

Bennett: Effectively, it’s sophisticated. The prime minister is beneath many various investigations, and it’s actually not a pleasing 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 a point. And I don’t like that. I don’t like all that polarization. I believe we’ve to—that is coming from the hawkish man, me—however I believe that we’ve 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 is 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 will be anti-democratic. He’s not even been charged with one component thus 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 remaining resolution, from my perspective, as a serious occasion within the coalition, solely once I see what he’s charged about, how extreme it’s, and what’s the overall state of affairs; , what’s happening with Iran.

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

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

Bennett: I assist our police and our investigators, however I have to say there’s a rare quantity of vitality being invested in these investigations, virtually unprecedented. So I received’t say that there’s a witch hunt, however you’ll be able to see there’s a variety 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 attention-grabbing right here. What it’s doing is the next: to start 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 beneath this duress, beneath 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 understand, there was a thesis a couple of weeks in the past that he is perhaps making an attempt to warmth up the area. No, he’s not.

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

Bennett: That’s right. So completely not. Actually, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been recognized to be very cautious about utilizing pressure, and really cautious—take a look at throughout tenure, throughout his two phrases, we didn’t have a warfare. 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 attention-grabbing 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 kind of a rallying behind him, and subsequently his assist, in actual fact, 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, in an effort to shore up his base.

Bennett: He may.

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

Bennett: It’s a risk. There’s just one one who know if he does, and that’s him. In Israel, the prime minister could be very, very highly effective. If he’s decided to go to elections, there will likely be elections. I, by the way in which, assume it might be a mistake. We’ve acquired a authorities that’s been working for about two years and eight months; a bit greater than half of the total time period. However I believe it’s unhealthy 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 beneath Prime Minister Netanyahu. He’s already grow to be the longest-serving prime minister since David Ben-Gurion, and is in difficult vary to really beat that document. I believe it’s 2019, proper—

Bennett: I believe so.

Glasser: —which have him surpassing that document. And but, this disaster across the investigation, wherever it leads, has actually led folks right into a dialog about what comes after Bibi. And you’ll’t say this, however I can, numerous individuals are speaking about you as a future prime minister of Israel. Is that one thing that you simply, sooner or later, 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 a variety 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 believe he’s doing a good job. We’ve had our disagreements, et cetera, however I believe as a first-rate minister, he’s actually doing a good job. So I stand behind him. But when he steps down, I completely intend to contend and grow to be the following prime minister.

Glasser: Effectively, after Netanyahu, folks count on that there can be form of a serious reorganization on the precise. And also you alluded to a number of the challenges that you’ve got. One in every of them, as I perceive it, is that your occasion, Jewish Dwelling, which is a member of the prime minister’s coalition, has a variety of extraordinarily conservative figures in its base, who is perhaps a problem for you as you face a common citizens in Israel.

Bennett: That’s right. I’ve a big activity to revamp my occasion; to open it up. You understand, traditionally, my occasion was the occasion of Orthodox Jews, trendy Orthodox Jews, in Israel. And I got here, and I mentioned, “No, that’s not our mission.” I used to be kind of a no person. 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. Actually, they had been the extremely left-wingers. My grandfather, I believe, with communist opinions in San Francisco within the ’50s and ’60s. So, not very talked-about. Anyway, they got here to Israel, then I served within the army; based a startup firm, bought it, after which had the Second Lebanon Conflict. I used to be known as into command troops behind enemy traces within the Second Lebanon Conflict, and that modified my life.

I made a decision to go away the high-tech enviornment, which I’m nonetheless very obsessed with, 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 occasion then was a contemporary Orthodox occasion. And I mentioned, “No, no, no. We wish to open it up for all Israelis.” I known 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 all my challenges, as a result of proper now I’m positioned on the acute aspect. And , I’m a extra central determine in Israel.

Glasser: May you ever envision a state of affairs the place you’d rejoin the Likud Get together or that it actually can be revamped considerably after Netanyahu?

Bennett: Effectively, I believe after Netanyahu—I’m not urgent him to go, as I mentioned, and he’s doing a great job. I believe we would wish an enormous bang in the precise aspect, kind 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’ve gotten caucuses, you’ve gotten totally different flavors inside every occasion. I believe that might be a more healthy construction for Israel.

Glasser: Relatively than all these little events?

Bennett: That’s right. Not that it doesn’t work, however I believe it’s one thing that we must always attempt for.

Glasser: We’re sitting right here in Washington, clearly, and I believe 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 have been 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 situation. It must be bipartisan. And I wish to clarify this, why, after which kind of play into your query. The truth that we’re there, the truth that we’re a free, open, very debating society. You understand, it’s Jews for heaven’s sake, so all of us argue all day. It’s a stupendous democracy within the coronary heart of the hardest place on Earth. You understand, we’ve acquired Syria, ISIS, and Hezbollah on our borders.

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

Glasser: However we’ve been sending tools.

Bennett: Gear, that’s proper.

Glasser: We now have been sending cash.

Bennett: Yeah, nevertheless it’s approach cheaper than when you’d need to—cheaper in lives and cheaper in price. And we’re doing good for the world in so many features. 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 menace just about at all times due to the state of affairs. We now have to take a look at our safety as paramount. And that’s our high curiosity. It trumps—pardon the pun—nevertheless 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 now not being an trustworthy dealer? I imply, there’s a threat, isn’t there, in aligning his pursuits so intently with the coverage viewpoints of the Israeli authorities?

Bennett: I believe Trump is aligning the pursuits of the US of America. What he’s doing is strengthening America. However I do assume that there’s one drawback, and that’s that inside the US, Israel is positioned an increasing number of as a partisan, as a Republican trigger. And that’s not what we’re. Actually, traditionally, —

Glasser: No, it’s an enormous shift.

Bennett: It’s a large shift, and it’s not a great shift, and it’s not one which we would like.

Glasser: Have you ever met President Trump your self?

Bennett: I’ve.

Glasser: What did you consider him?

Bennett: Effectively, it was very brief. When he got here to Israel, I shook his hand, and I mentioned, “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 mentioned, “Oh, that’s an thought.” This was on his go to again then. I don’t know him properly. I communicate to a few of his of us 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 lots of his folks. Very educated of Israel, very constructive about Israel, which I believe 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 thus a few years. So I believe that is sensible.

Glasser: Would you examine him to King Cyrus?

Bennett: I believe 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 couple of well-known declarations. Certainly, King Cyrus declared that the Jews can come again and dwell 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 house. This can be a main declaration that can go down in historical past. In that sense, I believe it’s a main declaration.

Glasser: So if we sit down a yr from now and we revisit this podcast once 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 believe for the great of Israel, I’d not wish to see Netanyahu step down due to—, for prison investigation causes. I would like 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 wish to be prime minister sometime. What do assume Israel most wants in a frontrunner proper now?

Bennett: Effectively, I believe 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 mentioned that on an ethical foundation, , folks ought to not take items. However in the end, that’s the choice of the voters. So I’d 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 component within the political world wherever proper now.

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

Bennett: No. After I mentioned that, I began occupied with 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 understand, we had Menachem Start and David Ben-Gurion, who went right down to the desert, to dwell within the desert for instance so younger folks will comply with him. I’m unsure that’s an enormous situation. I’m unsure that younger folks view their leaders as a possible instance. I don’t know. It’s an enormous query.

Glasser: Effectively, I don’t know. Because the training minister, you’re miserable me once more. So we’ll need to 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, at the least in Israel, we’re experiencing the very best numbers of volunteering. You understand, 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, in an effort to volunteer one other yr in agriculture; in serving to folks in low socioeconomic areas. Superb.

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 sit up for come visiting you throughout Israel’s election marketing campaign, each time that could 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 through Stitcher here.