/The complete transcript: Naftali Bennett

The complete 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 desires 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 speak concerning 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 beneath investigation. It seems to be as if there are three separate circumstances pending in opposition to 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.

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

You’ve simply given one in every of your standard, I’d say, very partaking talks right here on the annual AIPAC assembly. You talked loads concerning the Center East. And I’ve to say, I didn’t discover it to be a super-optimistic take. You stated we may very well 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: Nicely, to begin with, nice to be right here, Susan. I’m completely happy to speak to your listeners. I’m very optimistic, however reasonable. And you already know, we can’t outline the surroundings that we’re in. We don’t decide what the entire Center East will appear like. And proper now there’s enormous forces which were 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 properly past something native that has to do with Israel. Israel just isn’t the epicenter of the Center East issues. And the query is—you already know, that is the fact. 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 are able to’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 can be turning into half and parcel of Israeli society. You already know, 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 must proceed warding off our enemies, akin to Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS. Everybody I simply talked about is actually on our border. Actually.

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

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 already know, no Belgian is beneath existential menace. Individuals are usually not beneath existential menace. We’re, however we’ve grown accustomed to it. And it simply means one factor: we can’t afford to lose any warfare. We’ve got to stop 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 probability.

And yeah, we’re smack in the midst of essentially the most troublesome location on earth, however it’s really 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 robust work for the free world. And by doing it, form of stopping this tsunami from reaching the remainder of the world. And we’re pleased with it, however on the similar time, main superb lives.

You already know, 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 scenario the place, on the one hand, we’re threatened, however we don’t stay a lifetime of feeling threatened. We simply lead wonderful lives in Israel.

Glasser: Nicely, loads to unpack there. Some individuals 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 would possibly 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: Nicely, sure. I believe warfare may be averted in the event that they perceive that we’re manner, manner stronger than all of our enemies mixed, and if we apply power when mandatory, and don’t apply power when not mandatory. 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 its proxies. And within the south, in Gaza, by 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 combating their arms, however not their head. And it’s been form of this uneven scenario. We’ve bought an issue. Iran desires to export terror and chaos. They’re unhealthy guys. Not the Iranian individuals, however the Iranian regime. The Persian persons are great.

Glasser: There’s harder rhetoric popping out of Washington, in addition to Jerusalem as of late, 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 going on because of, say, the Trump administration having come to energy.

Bennett: Nicely, 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 carried out a bunch of operations over the previous yr and years to stem this encroachment and this need to turn out to be an enormous empire. On the American aspect, we have now a superb feeling that America has our again. We don’t count on 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 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 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 had been very anxious that the influence could be to close down the peace course of.

Bennett: Nicely, to begin with, Prime Minister Netanyahu is articulating the final 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 really a fairly 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 easy 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 manner way back, and it’s significant. But it surely additionally has two implications, and also you form of talked about how will it have an effect on the peace course of.

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

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

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

Glasser: A united Jerusalem beneath the State of Israel?

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

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

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

Glasser: But it surely’s your interpretation?

Bennett: Sure, it’s. I’ll let you know why. As a result of once you say “Jerusalem,” you already know, you’re taking 100 individuals 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 let you know 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 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, you already know, everybody is aware of what Jerusalem means. It’s the traditional metropolis. It’s the Mount of Olives. It’s 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—really, the US and Israel typically 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 choosing 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 Individuals are prepared to think about?

Bennett: Nicely, I can speak concerning the Israeli aspect. I can’t communicate for the Individuals. My sense, to begin with, is that the president desires to offer peace an opportunity. That sounded good.

Glasser: I’ve heard that music.

Bennett: Yeah. He actually desires to offer it a stab. I’m not very optimistic concerning the probabilities. 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 intervening time to the Individuals, so it’s fairly onerous to see the Individuals dealer peace.

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

And we’ve bought to determine how can we stay the following 100 years side-by-side, as peacefully as attainable, 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 suppose, 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 international. Right here we’re speaking concerning the historical land of Israel, which is Jewish, is Israeli, although there’s Palestinians dwelling there. So what we might need 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 known as the “Bennett plan,” basically making use of Israeli legislation on the Israeli-controlled areas.

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

Bennett: Nicely, I believe that proper now they need to give an opportunity to the large deal. You already know, the well-known deal.

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

Bennett: I don’t know.

Glasser: Individuals are skeptical.

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

Glasser: No, do you continue to—

Bennett: And we’re 51 years on.

Glasser: Nicely, do you continue to suppose that the administration goes to launch a peace plan? They talked about doing that, however, after all, the deadline retains occurring 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 US has two choices. Whenever you come out with a plan, you both coordinate it with each side upfront, to a point, 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 basic concern 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 need 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’s one, is the politics of it. And you already know, you might have a scenario the place each Prime Minister Netanyahu, in addition to President Trump right here, are each beneath investigations that appear to be rising in steam. I consider that each President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu have known 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 could have been considerably essential, whereas stopping wanting drawing any conclusions about these. You stated in a latest speech that “receiving presents 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. Initially, how critical is it, and what does it do to the politics of Israel?

Bennett: Nicely, it’s sophisticated. The prime minister is beneath many alternative investigations, and it’s definitely not a pleasing interval in Israel. I gained’t say it’s. And I’d additionally say there’s an excellent diploma of polarization in Israel, not in contrast to 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 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 flawed 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 aspect up to now.

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

Bennett: Nicely, 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 closing choice, from my perspective, as a serious social gathering within the coalition, solely once I see what he’s charged about, how extreme it’s, and what’s the final scenario; you already know, what’s occurring with Iran.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bennett: Yeah. Now, there’s an fascinating dynamic within the public, although. Many within the public circle the wagons behind the prime minister, and do really feel that there’s a witch hunt. After which form of a rallying behind him, and subsequently his help, the truth is, is rising because of these—in Israel.

Glasser: You imply within the public polls?

Bennett: Within the public polls, yeah.

Glasser: Nicely, that’s led some individuals to suppose that he would possibly name elections even earlier, snap elections, to be able to shore up his base.

Bennett: He would possibly.

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

Bennett: It’s a risk. 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 shall be elections. I, by the best way, suppose it could be a mistake. We’ve bought a authorities that’s been operating 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: Nicely, you’ve had a outstanding diploma of stability beneath 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 truly beat that report. I believe it’s 2019, proper—

Bennett: I believe so.

Glasser: —which have him surpassing that report. And but, this disaster across the investigation, wherever it leads, has definitely led individuals right into a dialog about what comes after Bibi. And you may’t say this, however I can, numerous persons are speaking about you as a future prime minister of Israel. Is that one thing that you simply, in the future, 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 bought 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 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 following prime minister.

Glasser: Nicely, after Netanyahu, individuals count on that there could be form of a serious reorganization on the proper. And also you alluded to a few of the challenges that you’ve. Considered one of them, as I perceive it, is that your social gathering, Jewish House, which is a member of the prime minister’s coalition, has plenty of extraordinarily conservative figures in its base, who is likely to be a problem for you as you face a basic voters in Israel.

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

Glasser: And by the best way, 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 mother and father are from San Francisco, Berkeley.

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

Bennett: No, I used to be lucky. In truth, they had been the extremely left-wingers. My grandfather, I believe, with communist opinions in San Francisco within the ’50s and ’60s. So, not highly regarded. Anyway, they got here to Israel, then I served within the army; based a startup firm, bought it, after which had the Second Lebanon Conflict. I used to be known as into command troops behind enemy strains 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 captivated with, 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 need to open it up for all Israelis.” I known as it the “Jewish House,” versus the “Orthodox House;” introduced in secular individuals. 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 aspect. And you already know, I’m a extra central determine in Israel.

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

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

Glasser: Fairly than all these little events?

Bennett: That’s appropriate. 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 really 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 were very shut, however the place there’s now a partisan taste to that alliance?

Bennett: That’s a really salient level. Israel shouldn’t be a partisan concern. It ought to be bipartisan. And I need to clarify this, why, after which form of play into your query. The truth that we’re there, the truth that we’re a free, open, very debating society. You already know, it’s Jews for heaven’s sake, so all of us argue all day. It’s an exquisite democracy within the coronary heart of the hardest place on Earth. You already know, we’ve bought 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 form of this enormous, enormous plane provider, however you don’t have to ship a ship. You don’t have to ship troops. You don’t have to ship tools. We’re there.

Glasser: However we have now been sending tools.

Bennett: Tools, that’s proper.

Glasser: We’ve got been sending cash.

Bennett: Yeah, however it’s manner cheaper than if you happen to’d must—cheaper in lives and cheaper in value. And we’re doing good for the world in so many features. Now, your query was concerning 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 scenario. We’ve got to have a look at our safety as paramount. And that’s our high 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 sincere 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 drawback, and that’s that inside the US, Israel is positioned increasingly as a partisan, as a Republican trigger. And that’s not what we’re. In truth, traditionally, you already know—

Glasser: No, it’s a giant shift.

Bennett: It’s a huge shift, and it’s not a superb 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: Nicely, 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 may 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 properly. I communicate to a few of his people on an ongoing foundation. They’re very educated about Israel.

Glasser: Have you ever talked with Jared Kushner?

Bennett: I don’t need to go into the names. I’ve spoken to lots of his individuals. 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 at all times favorable and so near America for therefore 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 individuals. And in historical past, there’s a couple of well-known declarations. Certainly, King Cyrus declared that the Jews can come again and stay 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. It is 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. Throughout the elections, it’s a zero-sum recreation. You vote for him or for me. But, I believe for the nice of Israel, I’d not need to see Netanyahu step down due to—you already know, for felony investigation causes. I would like 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: Nicely, I believe two components. Israelis need somebody who can run the nation properly. I additionally suppose that it’s time for somebody who can pose an instance on the values and the best way we conduct ourselves. And that was what I used to be alluding to once I stated that on an ethical foundation, you already know, individuals ought to not take presents. However in the end, that’s the choice of the voters. So I’d need to be a pacesetter by instance, and in addition to run the nation properly. It’s two various things.

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

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

Bennett: No. After I stated that, I began desirous 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 already know, we had Menachem Start and David Ben-Gurion, who went all the way down to the desert, to stay within the desert for example so younger individuals will observe him. I’m unsure that’s a giant concern. I’m unsure that younger individuals view their leaders as a possible instance. I don’t know. It’s a giant query.

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

Bennett: I don’t need to depress you as a result of I do need to say one factor particularly about Israel, as a result of I don’t know what goes on within the States. Twelfth graders, a minimum of in Israel, we’re experiencing the best numbers of volunteering. You already know, in Israel, everybody has to go to the military. So many, many Israelis are deferring by one yr their military service, their obligatory military service, to be able to volunteer one other yr in agriculture; in serving to individuals 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 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.