/The complete transcript: Naftali Bennett

The complete transcript: Naftali Bennett

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

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 among Israel’s rising political stars. We’ll speak in regards to the political ferment in Israel, together with many different topics, in our dialog this week. Bennett was as soon as an in depth ally and associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Now, the prime minister is beneath investigation. It seems as if there are three separate circumstances pending towards him. His former chief of employees, his former spokesman, are cooperating. There’s a lot hypothesis that this long term in Israeli politics might lastly be coming to an finish.

Persons are speaking about what’s going to occur after Bibi. I can’t consider anybody else higher to speak to you about that topic, and 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 among your normal, I’d 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 mentioned we could possibly be residing with Mideast chaos for the following 10, 50, or 100 years extra. Actually, 100 years?

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

Naftali Bennett: Properly, initially, nice to be right here, Susan. I’m blissful to speak to your listeners. I’m very optimistic, however practical. And you already know, we can not outline the atmosphere that we’re in. We don’t decide what the entire Center East will appear to be. And proper now there’s big forces which were in play for a whole lot of years; the Shiite-Sunni divide enjoying 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 will not be 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 strategy, I name it the “lighthouse.” Israel is a democratic, outstanding state. A lighthouse throughout the storm. We will’t decide how lengthy this tsunami will go on. Will it’s 50 years, 10 years, 200 years? We simply don’t know.

However we don’t get depressed about it. We proceed constructing our superb nation with $40,000 GDP per capita; with the two million Arabs which might 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 must 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 unprecedented factor for those who’re an optimist in that scenario.

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

And yeah, we’re smack in the midst of probably the most tough location on earth, but it surely’s truly lucky for the free world that we’re there as a result of we’re preventing them. We’re preventing—as of late, 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 happy with it, however on the similar time, main excellent lives.

, I ran two high-tech firms only a decade in the past. Israel has the perfect 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 superb lives in Israel.

Glasser: Properly, lots to unpack there. Some individuals concern that the prospects for battle within the quick time period may very well have gone up consequently 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: Properly, sure. I feel struggle may be averted in the event that they perceive that we’re approach, approach stronger than all of our enemies mixed, and if we apply drive when essential, and don’t apply drive when not essential. Look, the large image is the next: I’ve coined a time period, the “octopus doctrine.” Basically, we’ve bought Iran, the pinnacle 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 power on stemming Iran with diplomatic, financial, and different means as a result of they’ve been resistant to date. We’ve been preventing their arms, however not their head. And it’s been kind of this uneven scenario. We’ve bought an issue. Iran needs to export terror and chaos. They’re dangerous guys. Not the Iranian individuals, however the Iranian regime. The Persian individuals are fantastic.

Glasser: There’s more durable 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 happening on account 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 drive to push again Iran in Syria. We’ve carried out a bunch of operations over the previous yr and years to stem this encroachment and this want to turn into an enormous empire. On the American facet, now we have feeling that America has our again. We don’t count on America—and we’ve by no means anticipated American troopers to struggle our battles, and we received’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 might be very savvy about politics. I’ve all the time 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, in fact.

Yesterday, we noticed a particularly pleasant assembly between the prime minister of Israel and President Trump. Prime Minister Netanyahu in contrast President Trump to King Cyrus, to Harry Truman, to Lord Balfour. This looks 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 resolution? Lots of people have been very anxious that the influence could 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 the direction of this very brave resolution. And President Trump was proper about one thing he mentioned. He mentioned all presidents promised it through the marketing campaign, and he’s the one which delivered. That’s truly a fairly correct portrait of what occurred. We’ve seen all these AIPAC speeches 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. To begin 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 approach way back, and it’s significant. But it surely additionally has two implications, and also you kind of talked about how will it have an effect on the peace course of.

I feel it’s a paradox, however truly it can enable, or speed up peace, or allow peace, and for 2 causes. One purpose 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 facet a troublesome actuality, however it’s actuality. And kind of by hiding this large 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 facet, 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 bought higher. So why not wait? What he’s truly carried out is reverse that vector, that pattern, and abruptly, the Palestinians notice that point will not be essentially on their facet, and possibly they need to begin shifting.

Glasser: Properly, fast query, do you suppose that the popularity of Jerusalem—there’s actually been numerous debate about this—do you suppose that it signifies 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, regardless that formally he didn’t—

Glasser: A united Jerusalem beneath the State of Israel?

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

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

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

Glasser: But it surely’s your interpretation?

Bennett: Sure, it’s. I’ll inform you why. As a result of while 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 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 while 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—truly, the US and Israel usually 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, experiences that the U.S. officers had mentioned an annexation plan for the West Financial institution. What are you selecting up about that? I imply, is {that a} risk so far as you’re involved, each on the Israeli facet, and is it one thing the People are keen to contemplate?

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

Glasser: I’ve heard that track.

Bennett: Yeah. He actually needs to provide it a stab. I’m not very optimistic in regards to the possibilities. You see Mahmoud Abbas. You see the Palestinians. They’ve bought 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 onerous to see the People dealer peace.

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

And we’ve bought to determine how will we stay the following 100 years side-by-side, as peacefully as doable, 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 risk?

Bennett: Yeah. I don’t name it an annexation as a result of annexing is annexing one thing that isn’t yours. It’s one thing overseas. Right here we’re speaking in regards to the historical land of Israel, which is Jewish, is Israeli, although there’s Palestinians residing there. So what we’d need to do is apply Israeli regulation on that space. And I, in actual fact, was the man who initiated the well-known plan six years in the past. It’s known as the “Bennett plan,” 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 feel that proper now they need to give an opportunity to the large deal. , the well-known deal.

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

Bennett: I don’t know.

Glasser: Persons are skeptical.

Bennett: I don’t know. I imply, President Trump yesterday was requested, “What occurs if the Palestinians don’t come to the desk?” He gave a quite simple reply. He mentioned, “Properly, there received’t be peace.” I discovered {that a} very fascinating reply. That’s right. , 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: 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 might be launched.

Bennett: I don’t know. I don’t know. I feel it’s very elusive. The USA has two choices. If you come out with a plan, you both coordinate it with each side prematurely, to some extent, after which deliver it ahead, otherwise you don’t, and also you deliver it ahead. In the event that they’re making an attempt to coordinate, I feel they’re discovering it fairly tough 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 provide simply don’t coincide. And that’s been accompanying us for the previous 25 years.

However he has the opposite possibility, the unilateral possibility, to simply say, “That is the deal and we need to hear your response.” And which 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’ve got 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 imagine that each President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu have known as the investigations focused at them a “witch hunt” in current days. You had the prime minister’s former chief of employees, his former spokesman, each apparently are cooperating with prosecutors on this investigation.

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

Bennett: Properly, it’s sophisticated. The prime minister is beneath many various investigations, and it’s actually not a nice interval in Israel. I received’t say it’s. And I’d additionally say there’s an ideal diploma of polarization in Israel, not in contrast to what we see right here within the States, to some extent. And I don’t like that. I don’t like all that polarization. I feel now we have to—that is coming from the hawkish man, me—however I feel that now we have 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 suppose 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 ingredient so 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 prices. Although I’ll say that, you already know, I’ll make that closing resolution, from my perspective, as a serious celebration within the coalition, solely once I see what he’s charged about, how extreme it’s, and what’s the overall scenario; you already know, what’s happening with Iran.

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

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

Bennett: I help our police and our investigators, however I have to say there’s a unprecedented quantity of power being invested in these investigations, virtually unprecedented. So I received’t say that there’s a witch hunt, however you may see there’s numerous 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 every week, each within the cupboard and within the inside safety cupboard—and he’s functioning properly. It’s truly fairly outstanding that beneath this duress, beneath this strain, he is available in and it appears as if it’s all quiet on the market and we will 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 likely to be making an attempt to warmth up the area. No, he’s not.

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

Bennett: That’s right. So completely not. The truth is, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been recognized to be very cautious about utilizing drive, and really cautious—have 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 subsequently his help, in actual fact, is rising on account of these—in Israel.

Glasser: You imply within the public polls?

Bennett: Within the public polls, yeah.

Glasser: Properly, 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 may be very, very highly effective. If he’s decided to go to elections, there can 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 feel it’s dangerous 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 beneath Prime Minister Netanyahu. He’s already turn into the longest-serving prime minister since David Ben-Gurion, and is in difficult vary to truly beat that document. I feel it’s 2019, proper—

Bennett: I feel so.

Glasser: —which have him surpassing that document. And but, this disaster across the investigation, wherever it leads, has actually led individuals right into a dialog about what comes after Bibi. And you may’t say this, however I can, plenty of individuals are speaking about you as a future prime minister of Israel. Is that one thing that you just, at some point, 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 numerous 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 feel he’s doing a good job. We’ve had our disagreements, et cetera, however I feel as a chief minister, he’s actually doing a good job. So I stand behind him. But when he steps down, I completely intend to contend and turn into the following prime minister.

Glasser: Properly, after Netanyahu, individuals count on that there could be form of a serious reorganization on the fitting. And also you alluded to a number of the challenges that you’ve. One in all them, as I perceive it, is that your celebration, Jewish Residence, which is a member of the prime minister’s coalition, has numerous extraordinarily conservative figures in its base, who is likely to be a problem for you as you face a basic citizens in Israel.

Bennett: That’s right. I’ve a major process to revamp my celebration; to open it up. , traditionally, my celebration was the celebration of Orthodox Jews, trendy Orthodox Jews, in Israel. And I got here, and I mentioned, “No, that’s not our mission.” I used to be kind of a no one. Nobody knew who I’m.

Glasser: And by the best way, 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 ideal scholar?

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

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

And that’s one among my challenges, as a result of proper now I’m positioned on the intense facet. 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 Celebration or that it actually could be revamped considerably after Netanyahu?

Bennett: Properly, I feel after Netanyahu—I’m not urgent him to go, as I mentioned, and he’s doing job. I feel we would want a giant bang in the fitting facet, kind 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’ve got caucuses, you’ve got totally different flavors inside every celebration. I feel that might be a more healthy construction for Israel.

Glasser: Moderately than all these little events?

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

Glasser: We’re sitting right here in Washington, clearly, and I feel truly the prime minister is giving his speech to AIPAC proper as we’re having this dialog. Why is Israel one of many solely international locations 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 international locations 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 must be bipartisan. And I need 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. , 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 big nationwide curiosity for the US of America as a result of, if you’ll, we’re kind of this big, big plane service, however you don’t must ship a ship. You don’t must ship troops. You don’t must ship tools. We’re there.

Glasser: However now we have been sending tools.

Bennett: Tools, that’s proper.

Glasser: We have now been sending cash.

Bennett: Yeah, but it surely’s approach cheaper than for those who’d must—cheaper in lives and cheaper in price. And we’re doing good for the world in so many points. 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 have now to have a look at our safety as paramount. And that’s our high curiosity. It trumps—pardon the pun—but it surely 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 carefully with the coverage viewpoints of the Israeli authorities?

Bennett: I feel 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 an increasing number of as a partisan, as a Republican trigger. And that’s not what we’re. The truth is, traditionally, you already know—

Glasser: No, it’s a giant shift.

Bennett: It’s a large 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 quick. When he got here to Israel, I shook his hand, and I mentioned, “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 mentioned, “Oh, that’s an thought.” This was on his go to again then. I don’t know him properly. 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 need to go into the names. I’ve spoken to lots of his individuals. Very educated of Israel, very constructive about Israel, which I feel is okay. From an American standpoint, it’s okay to be very pleasant with an ally who has been all the time favorable and so near America for therefore a few years. So I feel that is sensible.

Glasser: Would you examine him to King Cyrus?

Bennett: I feel what the prime minister meant within the comparability is within the impact that his declaration had on the Jewish 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 residence. This can be a main declaration that can go down in historical past. In that sense, I feel it’s a main declaration.

Glasser: So if we sit down a yr from now and we revisit this podcast while 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 it is a unusual factor as a result of we’re political rivals. I don’t know in case your listeners perceive, in Israel, I compete with Netanyahu. In the course of the elections, it’s a zero-sum sport. You vote for him or for me. But, I feel for the nice of Israel, I’d not need to see Netanyahu step down due to—you already know, for legal investigation causes. I would like free elections.

However, I’ve to say, he has been a chief 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 feel 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 mentioned that on an ethical foundation, you already know, individuals ought to not take items. However in the end, that’s the choice of the voters. So I’d need to be a pacesetter by instance, and likewise to run the nation properly. It’s two various things.

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

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

Bennett: No. After I mentioned that, I began eager 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. , we had Menachem Start and David Ben-Gurion, who went all the way down to the desert, to stay within the desert for instance so younger individuals will comply with 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: Properly, 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, at the 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, to be able to volunteer one other yr in agriculture; in serving to individuals in low socioeconomic areas. Superb.

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

Glasser: Naftali Bennett, he’s our visitor this week on The World POLITICO. Thanks for visiting us in Washington. We’ll look ahead to come visiting you throughout Israel’s election marketing campaign, every 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 through Stitcher here.