/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 International Politico

Is the Bibi period over? A dialog with Naftali Bennett, the brash right-winger who desires 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 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 companion of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Now, the prime minister is underneath investigation. It appears as if there are three separate circumstances pending towards him. His former chief of workers, his former spokesman, are cooperating. There’s a lot hypothesis that this long term in Israeli politics could 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 typical, I might say, very participating talks right here on the annual AIPAC assembly. You talked lots 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 dwelling 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 suppose peace is breaking out any time quickly.

Naftali Bennett: Properly, initially, nice to be right here, Susan. I’m comfortable to speak to your listeners. I’m very optimistic, however sensible. And , we can’t outline the setting 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 a whole bunch of years; the Shiite-Sunni divide taking part in very deep; the disintegration of nation states like Syria, like Iraq.

And these forces go effectively past something native that has to do with Israel. Israel just 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 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 wonderful 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 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 in case you’re an optimist in that scenario.

Bennett: I imply, from the very inception of the State of Israel, we’ve all the time been underneath existential menace. And it’s one thing fairly distinctive. You understand, no Belgian is underneath existential menace. People will not be underneath existential menace. We’re, however we’ve grown accustomed to it. And it simply means one factor: we can’t afford to lose any struggle. We now have to forestall wars as a lot as we are able to, 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 essentially the most tough location on earth, however it’s truly lucky for the free world that we’re there as a result of we’re preventing them. We’re preventing—today, 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 robust work for the free world. And by doing it, kind 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.

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

Glasser: Properly, lots to unpack there. Some folks concern that the prospects for battle within the brief 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: Properly, sure. I believe struggle will be averted in the event that they perceive that we’re approach, approach stronger than all of our enemies mixed, and if we apply power when crucial, and don’t apply power when not crucial. Look, the massive image is the next: I’ve coined a time period, the “octopus doctrine.” Primarily, we’ve obtained Iran, the top of this octopus, sending its arms to envelop Israel from the north, in Syria and Lebanon by its proxies. And within the south, in Gaza, by 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 preventing their arms, however not their head. And it’s been kind of this uneven scenario. We’ve obtained an issue. Iran desires to export terror and chaos. They’re unhealthy guys. Not the Iranian folks, however the Iranian regime. The Persian persons are great.

Glasser: There’s harder rhetoric popping out of Washington, in addition to Jerusalem today, on the subject of 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 aspect after which there’s the American aspect. On the Israeli aspect, completely. We’re utilizing power to push again Iran in Syria. We’ve performed a bunch of operations over the previous yr and years to stem this encroachment and this want to change into an enormous empire. On the American aspect, we have now feeling that America has our again. We don’t anticipate America—and we’ve by no means anticipated American troopers to battle our battles, and we gained’t. We’ll by no means ask America to ship troops to defend us. We’ll all the time 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 all the time 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, in fact.

Yesterday, we noticed an especially 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 value all of these encomiums, and what do you see the precise influence being on the bottom of this choice? Lots of people have been very nervous that the influence can be to close down the peace course of.

Bennett: Properly, initially, Prime Minister Netanyahu is articulating the overall consensus of the Israeli public, left and proper, of gratitude in direction of this very brave choice. 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 reasonably correct portrait of what occurred. We’ve seen all these AIPAC speeches through the years, 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. 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 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 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 is going to 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, , it’s exhibiting the opposite aspect a tricky actuality, however it’s actuality. And kind of by hiding this huge elephant within the room for thus 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 aspect, so that they’ll simply wait. And each time they wait, they get a greater deal. In case you look by ’93 by 2000, in 2007 the deal simply obtained higher. So why not wait? What he’s truly performed is reverse that vector, that development, and all of the sudden, the Palestinians understand that point just isn’t essentially on their aspect, and perhaps they need to begin shifting.

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

Bennett: Properly, it’s query, however my reply is sure. It does imply a united Jerusalem, despite the fact that formally he didn’t—

Glasser: A united Jerusalem underneath the State of Israel?

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

Glasser: And also you suppose that’s the U.S. interpretation, despite the fact 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 just a few 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, studies 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 aspect, and is it one thing the People are prepared to contemplate?

Bennett: Properly, I can discuss in regards to the Israeli aspect. I can’t communicate for the People. My sense, initially, is that the president desires to offer peace an opportunity. That sounded good.

Glasser: I’ve heard that track.

Bennett: Yeah. He actually desires 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 obtained a failed, corrupt state. There’s nothing going there.

Glasser: They’re not speaking for the time being to the People, so it’s fairly exhausting 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, despite the fact that there’s a lot good things that we are able to 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 huge love within the air, however nobody’s evaporating. We’re all there collectively.

And we’ve obtained to determine how can we dwell the following 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 suppose, 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 overseas. Right here we’re speaking in regards to the historic land of Israel, which is Jewish, is Israeli, although there’s Palestinians dwelling there. So what we’d wish to do is apply Israeli regulation on that space. And I, actually, was the man who initiated the well-known plan six years in the past. It’s known as the “Bennett plan,” basically making use of Israeli regulation on the Israeli-controlled areas.

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

Bennett: Properly, 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 huge 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 stated, “Properly, there gained’t be peace.” I discovered {that a} very fascinating reply. That’s appropriate. 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: Properly, do you continue to suppose 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. A minimum of nothing that may be launched.

Bennett: I don’t know. I don’t know. I believe it’s very elusive. The US has two choices. While you come out with a plan, you both coordinate it with either 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 tough 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 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 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 can feed into this peace course of, to the extent there’s one, is the politics of it. And , you might have a scenario the place each Prime Minister Netanyahu, in addition to President Trump right here, are each underneath investigations that appear to be rising 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 workers, his former spokesman, each apparently are cooperating with prosecutors on this investigation.

You’ve gotten been considerably important, whereas stopping in need of drawing any conclusions about these. You stated in a current speech that “receiving presents 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: Properly, it’s difficult. The prime minister is underneath many various investigations, and it’s actually not a nice interval in Israel. I gained’t say it’s. And I’d additionally say there’s an awesome 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’s going to occur. It’s being investigated proper now. I do suppose that it’s fallacious 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 thus far.

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 costs. Although I’ll say that, , I’ll make that last choice, from my perspective, as a significant get together within the coalition, solely once I see what he’s charged about, how extreme it’s, and what’s the overall scenario; , what’s happening with Iran.

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

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

Bennett: I assist our police and our investigators, however I need to say there’s a unprecedented quantity of power being invested in these investigations, nearly unprecedented. So I gained’t say that there’s a witch hunt, however you possibly can see there’s plenty 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 fascinating right here. What it’s doing is the next: initially, so far as I can see—and I see the prime minister many instances per week, each within the cupboard and within the internal safety cupboard—and he’s functioning effectively. It’s truly fairly outstanding that underneath this duress, underneath this stress, he is available in and it appears as if it’s all quiet on the market and we are able to give attention to issues. And I don’t see any unusual or fallacious motives infiltrating safety discussions.

You understand, there was a thesis just a few weeks in the past that he could be attempting to warmth up the area. No, he’s not.

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

Bennett: That’s appropriate. So completely not. The truth is, 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 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 kind of a rallying behind him, and due to this fact his assist, actually, 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 suppose that he may name elections even earlier, snap elections, to be able to shore up his base.

Bennett: He may.

Glasser: So that you suppose 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 might be elections. I, by the way in which, suppose it will be a mistake. We’ve obtained a authorities that’s been working for about two years and eight months; a bit greater than half of the complete time period. However I believe it’s unhealthy for any state, any nation, to go on too frequent elections. We’d like stability.

Glasser: Properly, you’ve had a outstanding diploma of stability underneath Prime Minister Netanyahu. He’s already change into 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, plenty of persons are speaking about you as a future prime minister of Israel. Is that one thing that you just, 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 obtained plenty of work to do, as a result of for a lot of causes, it’s very robust 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 main minister, he’s actually doing a good job. So I stand behind him. But when he steps down, I completely intend to contend and change into the following prime minister.

Glasser: Properly, after Netanyahu, folks anticipate that there can be form of a significant reorganization on the best. And also you alluded to a number of the challenges that you’ve got. One among them, as I perceive it, is that your get together, Jewish House, which is a member of the prime minister’s coalition, has plenty of extraordinarily conservative figures in its base, who could be a problem for you as you face a common voters in Israel.

Bennett: That’s appropriate. I’ve a big process to revamp my get together; to open it up. You understand, traditionally, my get together was the get together 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 kind of a no person. Nobody knew who I’m.

Glasser: And by the way in which, inform our listeners, I imply, you have 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 awesome scholar?

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

I made a decision to depart the high-tech area, which I’m nonetheless very enthusiastic about, and to hitch Netanyahu as his chief of workers for a few years, in ’06. And I extremely respect Netanyahu, however we do have variations in opinion. And yeah, my get together then was a contemporary Orthodox get together. And I stated, “No, no, no. We wish to open it up for all Israelis.” I known as it the “Jewish House,” versus the “Orthodox House;” 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: Might you ever envision a scenario the place you’d rejoin the Likud Occasion or that it actually can 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 job. I believe we would want an enormous bang in the best 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 might have caucuses, you might have completely different flavors inside every get together. I believe that may 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 believe it’s one thing that we should always try 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 suppose 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 challenge. It ought to 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 an exquisite democracy within the coronary heart of the hardest place on Earth. You understand, we’ve obtained Syria, ISIS, and Hezbollah on our borders.

That may 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 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 have now been sending gear.

Bennett: Gear, that’s proper.

Glasser: We now have been sending cash.

Bennett: Yeah, however it’s approach cheaper than in case you’d must—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 all the time due to the scenario. We now 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 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 suppose that there’s one downside, and that’s that inside the US, Israel is positioned increasingly more as a partisan, as a Republican trigger. And that’s not what we’re. The truth is, traditionally, —

Glasser: No, it’s an enormous shift.

Bennett: It’s a huge shift, and it’s not 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: 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’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 effectively. 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 optimistic about Israel, which I believe is okay. From an American standpoint, it’s okay to be very pleasant with an ally who has been all the time favorable and so near America for thus 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 just a few well-known declarations. Certainly, King Cyrus declared that the Jews can come again and dwell within the State of Israel. This was effectively 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 suppose 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. In the course of 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—, for felony investigation causes. I need free elections.

Alternatively, 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 suppose Israel most wants in a pacesetter proper now?

Bennett: Properly, I believe two components. Israelis need somebody who can run the nation effectively. I additionally suppose 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 presents. However finally, that’s the choice of the voters. So I might wish to be a pacesetter by instance, and likewise to run the nation effectively. It’s two various things.

I’m unsure although—I imply, on the instance half, I’m unsure that may 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 serious about 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 all the way down to the desert, to dwell within the desert for example so younger folks will comply with him. I’m unsure that’s an enormous challenge. I’m unsure 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 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, 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, to be able 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 this can be 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, at any time when 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.