/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 Photos

The World 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 World POLITICO. This week our visitor is Naftali Bennett, who’s one in every of 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 associate 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 lots 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 standard, 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: Properly, initially, nice to be right here, Susan. I’m glad to speak to your listeners. I’m very optimistic, however lifelike. And you already know, we can not outline the setting that we’re in. We don’t decide what the entire Center East will seem like. And proper now there’s large forces which have been in play for tons of of years; the Shiite-Sunni divide enjoying very deep; the disintegration of nation states like Syria, like Iraq.

And these forces go nicely past something native that has to do with Israel. Israel isn’t the epicenter of the Center East issues. And the query is—you already know, 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 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 can be turning into half and parcel of Israeli society. , financial savings lives all all over the world with our applied sciences, with our intelligence; simply doing good. And subsequently, I’m very optimistic. We’ll sadly need to proceed keeping off our enemies, reminiscent of Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS. Everybody I simply talked about is actually on our border. Actually.

Glasser: Which makes you a rare factor should 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 below existential menace. And it’s one thing fairly distinctive. , no Belgian is below existential menace. Individuals usually are not below existential menace. We’re, however we’ve grown accustomed to it. And it simply means one factor: we can not afford to lose any struggle. We’ve got to stop wars as a lot as we will, however we have now to win them as a result of we don’t get a second likelihood.

And yeah, we’re smack in the course of probably 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—as of late, 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, type of stopping this tsunami from reaching the remainder of the world. And we’re pleased with it, however on the identical time, main excellent lives.

, 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: Properly, rather a lot to unpack there. Some folks concern 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: Properly, sure. I believe struggle may be averted in the event that they perceive that we’re method, method stronger than all of our enemies mixed, and if we apply power when needed, and don’t apply power when not needed. Look, the large image is the next: I’ve coined a time period, the “octopus doctrine.” Basically, we’ve bought Iran, the top of this octopus, sending its arms to envelop Israel from the north, in Syria and Lebanon by way of its proxies. And within the south, in Gaza, by way of Hamas, which is a semi-proxy.

And I assume what I’m pushing for in Israel is to focus our power on stemming Iran with diplomatic, financial, and different means as a result of they’ve been proof against date. We’ve been combating their arms, however not their head. And it’s been type of this uneven state of affairs. We’ve bought an issue. Iran needs to export terror and chaos. They’re unhealthy guys. Not the Iranian folks, however the Iranian regime. The Persian persons are fantastic.

Glasser: There’s harder rhetoric popping out of Washington, in addition to Jerusalem as of late, with regards to Iran. However do you see any particular change in coverage? It’s unclear to me, at this level, what new is happening because of, say, the Trump administration having come to energy.

Bennett: Properly, there’s the Israeli facet after which there’s the American facet. On the Israeli facet, completely. We’re utilizing power to push again Iran in Syria. We’ve executed 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 facet, we have now an excellent feeling that America has our again. We don’t anticipate America—and we’ve by no means anticipated American troopers to combat our battles, and we gained’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 in addition 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 as if an infinite 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 determination? Lots of people had been very anxious that the affect could be to close down the peace course of.

Bennett: Properly, initially, Prime Minister Netanyahu is articulating the final consensus of the Israeli public, left and proper, of gratitude in the direction of this very brave determination. And President Trump was proper about one thing he stated. He stated all presidents promised it throughout 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 shifting 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 the planet acknowledges that straightforward truth. 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 method way back, and it’s significant. Nevertheless it additionally has two implications, and also you type of talked about how will it have an effect on the peace course of.

I believe it’s a paradox, however truly it can permit, or speed up peace, or allow peace, and for 2 causes. One purpose is, any peace that may have been predicated on dividing Jerusalem has no likelihood. And by taking Jerusalem off the desk, you already know, it’s displaying the opposite facet a tricky actuality, however it’s actuality. And type of by hiding this massive elephant within the room for therefore a few years, we knew that there’s no likelihood for peace.

However secondly, the Palestinians, over the previous 50 years, had a quite simple technique. Time was on their facet, in order that they’ll simply wait. And each time they wait, they get a greater deal. In the event you look by way of ’93 by way of 2000, in 2007 the deal simply bought higher. So why not wait? What he’s truly executed is reverse that vector, that development, and out of the blue, the Palestinians understand that point isn’t essentially on their facet, and possibly they need to begin shifting.

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

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

Glasser: A united Jerusalem below the State of Israel?

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

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

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

Glasser: Nevertheless it’s your interpretation?

Bennett: Sure, it’s. I’ll inform you why. As a result of whenever you say “Jerusalem,” you already know, you are 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 possibly, “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 already know, you say “Paris,” you consider the Eiffel Tower. So whenever 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, you already know, 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 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, 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} chance so far as you’re involved, each on the Israeli facet, and is it one thing the Individuals are keen to contemplate?

Bennett: Properly, I can discuss in regards to the Israeli facet. I can not converse for the Individuals. My sense, initially, is that the president needs to offer peace an opportunity. That sounded good.

Glasser: I’ve heard that music.

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

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

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

And we’ve bought to determine how will we dwell the subsequent 100 years side-by-side, as peacefully as potential, with mutual dignity and respect. And I’d give attention to 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 legislation on that space. And I, the truth is, was the man who initiated the well-known plan six years in the past. It’s referred to 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 Individuals are extra open to now?

Bennett: Properly, I believe that proper now they wish to give an opportunity to the large deal. , the well-known deal.

Glasser: Yeah, what’s the massive deal? Is that taking place?

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, “Properly, there gained’t be peace.” I discovered {that a} very attention-grabbing reply. That’s right. , 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: Properly, 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 may be launched.

Bennett: I don’t know. I don’t know. I believe it’s very elusive. America has two choices. Whenever you come out with a plan, you both coordinate it with each side upfront, 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 believe they’re discovering it fairly troublesome as a result of the elemental concern is that the minimal that they’d agree for, and the utmost that we’d be keen to offer 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 that will occur.

Glasser: So that you’re a politician, and naturally, one of many components that can feed into this peace course of, to the extent there may be one, is the politics of it. And you already know, you have got a state of affairs 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 consider that each President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu have referred to as the investigations focused at them a “witch hunt” in latest days. You had the prime minister’s former chief of employees, his former spokesman, each apparently are cooperating with prosecutors on this investigation.

You’ve got been considerably crucial, whereas stopping wanting drawing any conclusions about these. You stated in a latest 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: Properly, it’s difficult. The prime minister is below many alternative investigations, and it’s definitely not a nice interval in Israel. I gained’t say it’s. And I’d additionally say there’s an incredible 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 believe we have now to—that is coming from the hawkish man, me—however I believe that we have now 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 may be anti-democratic. He’s not even been charged with one factor up to now.

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

Bennett: Properly, 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, you already know, I’ll make that ultimate determination, from my perspective, as a serious social gathering within the coalition, solely after I see what he’s charged about, how extreme it’s, and what’s the final state of affairs; you already know, what’s happening with Iran.

Israel is totally different from each nation as a result of we don’t have the luxurious to make massive errors. We will make small errors, however massive 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 rare quantity of power being invested in these investigations, virtually unprecedented. So I gained’t say that there’s a witch hunt, however you may see there’s a number of power 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: initially, so far as I can see—and I see the prime minister many instances every week, each within the cupboard and within the internal safety cupboard—and he’s functioning nicely. 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 give attention to issues. And I don’t see any unusual or mistaken motives infiltrating safety discussions.

, there was a thesis a couple of weeks in the past that he is perhaps 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 right. So completely not. In reality, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been identified to be very cautious about utilizing power, and really cautious—take a look at throughout tenure, throughout his two phrases, we didn’t have a struggle. Properly, 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 type of a rallying behind him, and subsequently his assist, the truth is, is rising because of these—in Israel.

Glasser: You imply within the public polls?

Bennett: Within the public polls, yeah.

Glasser: Properly, that’s led some folks to assume that he may name elections even earlier, snap elections, with a view 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 that 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 could be a mistake. We’ve bought 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 want stability.

Glasser: Properly, 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 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 definitely led folks right into a dialog about what comes after Bibi. And you’ll’t say this, however I can, a number of persons are speaking about you as a future prime minister of Israel. Is that one thing that you simply, sooner or later, want to see your self difficult for?

Bennett: Sure. After the period of Netanyahu, I intend to be the prime minister of Israel. I’ve bought a number of work to do, as a result of for a lot of causes, it’s very powerful from my present place to succeed in 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 main 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: Properly, after Netanyahu, folks anticipate that there could be form of a serious reorganization on the correct. And also you alluded to a few of the challenges that you’ve. Certainly one of them, as I perceive it, is that your social gathering, Jewish Dwelling, which is a member of the prime minister’s coalition, has a number of extraordinarily conservative figures in its base, who is perhaps a problem for you as you face a basic voters in Israel.

Bennett: That’s right. I’ve a major process to revamp my social gathering; to open it up. , traditionally, my social gathering was the social gathering 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 type 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 incredible pupil?

Bennett: No, I used to be lucky. In reality, 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 Battle. I used to be referred to as into command troops behind enemy strains within the Second Lebanon Battle, 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 hitch 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 social gathering then was a contemporary Orthodox social gathering. 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 acute facet. And you already know, I’m a extra central determine in Israel.

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

Bennett: Properly, I believe after Netanyahu—I’m not urgent him to go, as I stated, and he’s doing an excellent job. I believe we would want an enormous bang in the correct facet, type 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 have got caucuses, you have got totally different flavors inside every social gathering. I believe that may be a more healthy construction for Israel.

Glasser: Somewhat than all these little events?

Bennett: That’s right. Not that it doesn’t work, however I believe it’s one thing that we should 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 international locations 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 international locations 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 concern. It needs to be bipartisan. And I wish to clarify this, why, after which type of play into your query. The truth that we’re there, the truth that we’re a free, open, very debating society. , it’s Jews for heaven’s sake, so all of us argue all day. It’s a phenomenal democracy within the coronary heart of the hardest place on Earth. , we’ve bought Syria, ISIS, and Hezbollah on our borders.

That could be a large nationwide curiosity for the US of America as a result of, if you’ll, we’re type of this large, large plane provider, however you don’t must ship a ship. You don’t must ship troops. You don’t must ship gear. We’re there.

Glasser: However we have now been sending gear.

Bennett: Tools, that’s proper.

Glasser: We’ve got been sending cash.

Bennett: Yeah, however it’s method cheaper than should you’d need to—cheaper in lives and cheaper in value. 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 menace just about at all times due to the state of affairs. We’ve got to take a look at our safety as paramount. And that’s our high curiosity. It trumps—pardon the pun—however it trumps different parts.

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 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 downside, 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. In reality, traditionally, you already know—

Glasser: No, it’s an enormous shift.

Bennett: It’s a massive shift, and it’s not an excellent 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: Properly, it was very brief. When he got here to Israel, I shook his hand, and I stated, “Mr. President, this wasn’t within the playing cards. You possibly can go down in historical past as the primary man who acknowledged Jerusalem because the Jewish capital.” And he stated, “Oh, that’s an thought.” This was on his go to again then. I don’t know him nicely. I converse 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 therefore a few years. So I believe that is smart.

Glasser: Would you evaluate 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 nicely 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 whenever 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 this can be 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 might not wish to see Netanyahu step down due to—you already know, for legal investigation causes. I need free elections.

However, I’ve to say, he has been a main 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: Properly, I believe two parts. Israelis need somebody who can run the nation nicely. 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 after I stated that on an ethical foundation, you already know, 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 nicely. It’s two various things.

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

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

Bennett: No. After I stated that, I began fascinated with it a bit extra, and I’m undecided that’s one thing that voters care about that a lot, as a lot as they used to. , we had Menachem Start and David Ben-Gurion, who went all the way down to the desert, to dwell within the desert for example so younger folks will observe him. I’m undecided that’s an enormous concern. I’m undecided that younger folks view their leaders as a possible instance. I don’t know. It’s an enormous query.

Glasser: Properly, 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 very least in Israel, we’re experiencing the very best numbers of volunteering. , 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 a view 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 this can be a particular angle that must be explored.

Glasser: Naftali Bennett, he’s our visitor this week on The World 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 World POLITICO. Subscribe to The World POLITICO on Apple Podcasts here. Subscribe by way of Stitcher here.