/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 Pictures

The World Politico

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

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Susan Glasser: Hello, that is Susan Glasser, and welcome to The World POLITICO. This week our visitor is Naftali Bennett, who’s one in all Israel’s rising political stars. We’ll discuss concerning 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 accomplice of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Now, the prime minister is underneath investigation. It appears to be like as if there are three separate instances pending towards him. His former chief of employees, his former spokesman, are cooperating. There’s a lot hypothesis that this future 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 lots of others, than Naftali Bennett, who’s a minister in Netanyahu’s cupboard proper now; one of many main figures on the Israeli proper. Naftali Bennett, thanks for becoming a member of us this week.

You’ve simply given one in all your common, I might say, very participating talks right here on the annual AIPAC assembly. You talked rather a lot concerning the Center East. And I’ve to say, I didn’t discover it to be a super-optimistic take. You stated we could possibly be residing with Mideast chaos for the subsequent 10, 50, or 100 years extra. Actually, 100 years?

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

Naftali Bennett: Properly, to begin with, nice to be right here, Susan. I’m pleased to speak to your listeners. I’m very optimistic, however reasonable. And you recognize, we can’t outline the surroundings that we’re in. We don’t decide what the entire Center East will seem like. And proper now there’s enormous forces which have been in play for lots of of years; the Shiite-Sunni divide taking part in very deep; the disintegration of nation states like Syria, like Iraq.

And these forces go nicely past something native that has to do with Israel. Israel shouldn’t be the epicenter of the Center East issues. And the query is—you recognize, 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 inside the storm. We are able to’t decide how lengthy this tsunami will go on. Will or not it’s 50 years, 10 years, 200 years? We simply don’t know.

However we don’t get depressed about it. We proceed constructing our superb nation with $40,000 GDP per capita; with the two million Arabs which might be changing into half and parcel of Israeli society. You already know, financial savings lives all all over the world with our applied sciences, with our intelligence; simply doing good. And subsequently, I’m very optimistic. We’ll sadly need to proceed heading 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 when you’re an optimist in that scenario.

Bennett: I imply, from the very inception of the State of Israel, we’ve at all times been underneath existential menace. And it’s one thing fairly distinctive. You already know, no Belgian is underneath existential menace. People are usually not 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’ve to stop wars as a lot as we are able to, 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 course of essentially the most tough location on earth, nevertheless it’s truly lucky for the free world that we’re there as a result of we’re preventing them. We’re preventing—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 powerful work for the free world. And by doing it, type of stopping this tsunami from reaching the remainder of the world. And we’re happy with it, however on the similar time, main excellent lives.

You already know, I ran two high-tech corporations only a decade in the past. Israel has the perfect ecosystem second solely to Silicon Valley on the earth. 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 superb lives in Israel.

Glasser: Properly, rather a lot to unpack there. Some folks worry that the prospects for battle within the quick 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 may be averted in the event that they perceive that we’re means, means stronger than all of our enemies mixed, and if we apply power when obligatory, and don’t apply power when not obligatory. Look, the massive image is the next: I’ve coined a time period, the “octopus doctrine.” Primarily, we’ve acquired Iran, the top of this octopus, sending its arms to envelop Israel from the north, in Syria and Lebanon via its proxies. And within the south, in Gaza, via Hamas, which is a semi-proxy.

And I suppose what I’m pushing for in Israel is to focus our 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 type of this uneven scenario. We’ve acquired an issue. Iran needs to export terror and chaos. They’re unhealthy guys. Not the Iranian folks, 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 going on on account 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 12 months and years to stem this encroachment and this want to turn out to be an enormous empire. On the American aspect, now we have an excellent 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 received’t. We’ll by no means ask America to ship troops to defend us. We’ll at all times defend ourselves, by ourselves, however we do want America giving us its backing.

Glasser: All proper. So, Naftali Bennett, we’re right here in Washington. You’re very savvy about politics. I’ve at all times discovered you to be savvy about politics. Not solely about Israeli politics, but additionally about what’s going on right here in the US. A key relationship for Israel, 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 like an unlimited 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 determination? Lots of people had been very anxious that the influence can be to close down the peace course of.

Bennett: Properly, to begin with, Prime Minister Netanyahu is articulating the final consensus of the Israeli public, left and proper, of gratitude in the direction of this very brave determination. And President Trump was proper about one thing he stated. He stated all presidents promised it throughout the marketing campaign, and he’s the one which delivered. That’s truly a fairly correct portrait of what occurred. We’ve seen all these AIPAC speeches through the years, and he’s the primary man who got here and did it. And did each issues: acknowledged our capital and is transferring the embassy.

It’s greater than symbolic. To start with, I’ve to say, as a nation, that Jerusalem has been our capital for 3,000 years, undisputed capital. It’s been offensive that nobody on the earth acknowledges that easy reality. I imply, think about the way you’d really feel if the world didn’t acknowledge Washington, D.C. And it’s such an apparent factor that ought to have occurred means way back, and it’s significant. However it additionally has two implications, and also you type of talked about how will it have an effect on the peace course of.

I believe it’s a paradox, however truly it’s going to permit, or speed up peace, or allow peace, and for 2 causes. One motive is, any peace that might have been predicated on dividing Jerusalem has no probability. And by taking Jerusalem off the desk, you recognize, it’s displaying the opposite aspect a troublesome actuality, however it’s actuality. And type of by hiding this huge elephant within the room for thus a few years, we knew that there’s no probability for peace.

However secondly, the Palestinians, over the previous 50 years, had a quite simple technique. Time was on their aspect, so that they’ll simply wait. And each time they wait, they get a greater deal. In case you look via ’93 via 2000, in 2007 the deal simply acquired higher. So why not wait? What he’s truly performed is reverse that vector, that pattern, and all of the sudden, the Palestinians notice that point shouldn’t be essentially on their aspect, and perhaps they need to begin transferring.

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 signifies that east Jerusalem can’t be the capital of a future Palestinian state?

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

Glasser: A united Jerusalem underneath the State of Israel?

Bennett: That’s right. 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 type of fudging it?

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

Glasser: However it’s your interpretation?

Bennett: Sure, it’s. I’ll inform you why. As a result of while you say “Jerusalem,” you recognize, you are taking 100 folks on the road, you ask them, “What’s Jerusalem?” In the event that they’ve heard of Jerusalem, they’ll say, “Oh, it’s the Western Wall,” and perhaps, “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 recognize, 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 recognize, 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 number 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, reviews 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 People are keen to think about?

Bennett: Properly, I can discuss concerning the Israeli aspect. I can’t converse for the People. My sense, to begin with, is that the president needs to provide peace an opportunity. That sounded good.

Glasser: I’ve heard that music.

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

Glasser: They’re not speaking in the intervening time to the People, so it’s fairly onerous to see the People dealer peace.

Bennett: They’re not speaking to the People; not speaking to the Israelis. They’ve type 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 need to say this, as essentially the most hawkish chief in Israel, I’m the primary one to say, you recognize, 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 acquired to determine how can we dwell the subsequent 100 years side-by-side, as peacefully as doable, 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 residing there. So what we might need to do is apply Israeli regulation on that space. And I, in truth, was the man who initiated the well-known plan six years in the past. It’s known as the “Bennett plan,” primarily making use of Israeli 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 need to give an opportunity to the massive deal. You already know, the well-known deal.

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

Bennett: I don’t know.

Glasser: Individuals are skeptical.

Bennett: I don’t know. I imply, President Trump yesterday was requested, “What occurs if the Palestinians don’t come to the desk?” He gave a quite simple reply. He stated, “Properly, there received’t be peace.” I discovered {that a} very attention-grabbing reply. That’s right. 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: 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. Not less than nothing that might be launched.

Bennett: I don’t know. I don’t know. I believe it’s very elusive. The USA has two choices. If you come out with a plan, you both coordinate it with either side prematurely, to a point, after which carry it ahead, otherwise you don’t, and also you carry it ahead. In the event that they’re making an attempt to coordinate, I believe they’re discovering it fairly tough as a result of the basic problem 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 choice, the unilateral choice, 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 recognize, 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 growing in steam. I imagine that each President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu have known as the investigations focused at them a “witch hunt” in current days. You had the prime minister’s former chief of employees, his former spokesman, each apparently are cooperating with prosecutors on this investigation.

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

Bennett: Properly, it’s difficult. The prime minister is underneath many alternative investigations, and it’s definitely 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 not like what we see right here within the States, to a point. And I don’t like that. I don’t like all that polarization. I believe now we have to—that is coming from the hawkish man, me—however I believe 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’s going to occur. It’s being investigated proper now. I do suppose that it’s unsuitable to demand that the prime minister step down simply because he’s being investigated. That might be anti-democratic. He’s not even been charged with one ingredient up to now.

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

Bennett: Properly, if he’s charged, I assume we’d go to elections. That’s simply what would occur if he’s charged with these fees. Although I’ll say that, you recognize, I’ll make that closing determination, from my perspective, as a serious get together within the coalition, solely after I see what he’s charged about, how extreme it’s, and what’s the final scenario; you recognize, what’s happening with Iran.

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

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 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 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 attention-grabbing 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 occasions per week, each within the cupboard and within the inside safety cupboard—and he’s functioning nicely. It’s truly fairly outstanding that underneath this duress, underneath this strain, 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 unsuitable motives infiltrating safety discussions.

You already know, there was a thesis a number of weeks in the past that he could be making an attempt to warmth up the area. No, he’s not.

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

Bennett: That’s right. So completely not. In reality, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been identified to be very cautious about utilizing power, 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 attention-grabbing dynamic within the public, although. Many within the public circle the wagons behind the prime minister, and do really feel that there’s a witch hunt. After which type of a rallying behind him, and subsequently his help, in truth, 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 folks to suppose that he may name elections even earlier, snap elections, so as to shore up his base.

Bennett: He may.

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

Bennett: It’s a risk. There’s just one one who know if he does, and that’s him. In Israel, the prime minister could be very, very highly effective. If he’s decided to go to elections, there will probably be elections. I, by the way in which, suppose it might be a mistake. We’ve acquired 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 want stability.

Glasser: Properly, you’ve had a outstanding diploma of stability underneath 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 folks 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, sooner or later, want to see your self difficult for?

Bennett: Sure. After the period of Netanyahu, I intend to be the prime minister of Israel. I’ve acquired plenty of work to do, as a result of for a lot of causes, it’s very powerful from my present place to achieve that. However completely. I don’t intend to be a rival of Netanyahu. I believe he’s doing a good job. We’ve had our disagreements, et cetera, however I believe as a first-rate minister, he’s definitely doing a good job. So I stand behind him. But when he steps down, I completely intend to contend and turn out to be the subsequent prime minister.

Glasser: Properly, after Netanyahu, folks anticipate that there can be type of a serious reorganization on the best. And also you alluded to among the challenges that you’ve. One in every of them, as I perceive it, is that your get together, Jewish Dwelling, 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 citizens in Israel.

Bennett: That’s right. I’ve a big job to revamp my get together; to open it up. You already know, 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 type of a no person. Nobody knew who I’m.

Glasser: And by the way in which, inform our listeners, I imply, you had been very near Prime Minister Netanyahu. Inform us the two-second story of how you bought—

Bennett: My two-second story, 30 seconds, grew up in Israel. My English is as a result of my mother and father are from San Francisco, Berkeley.

Glasser: It’s not simply since you’re an ideal pupil?

Bennett: No, I used to be lucky. In reality, they had been the extremely left-wingers. My grandfather, I believe, with communist opinions in San Francisco within the ’50s and ’60s. So, not highly regarded. Anyway, they got here to Israel, then I served within the navy; 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 depart the high-tech enviornment, which I’m nonetheless very obsessed with, and to affix Netanyahu as his chief of employees for a few years, in ’06. And I extremely respect Netanyahu, however we do have variations in opinion. And yeah, my get together then was a contemporary Orthodox get together. And I stated, “No, no, no. We need to open it up for all Israelis.” I known as it the “Jewish Dwelling,” versus the “Orthodox Dwelling;” introduced in secular folks. And it’s extra open, however not open sufficient.

And that’s one in all my challenges, as a result of proper now I’m positioned on the intense aspect. And you recognize, I’m a extra central determine in Israel.

Glasser: Might you ever envision a scenario the place you’d rejoin the Likud Get together 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 an excellent job. I believe we would want an enormous bang in the best aspect, type of a unification of many events, to be one central entrance. Not not like America, proper, the place there’s two main events, after which you might have caucuses, you might have totally different flavors inside every get together. I believe that might be a more healthy construction for Israel.

Glasser: Fairly than all these little events?

Bennett: That’s right. Not that it doesn’t work, however I believe it’s one thing that we must always 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 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 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 problem. It ought to be bipartisan. And I need to clarify this, why, after which type of play into your query. The truth that we’re there, the truth that we’re a free, open, very debating society. You already know, it’s Jews for heaven’s sake, so all of us argue all day. It’s a wonderful democracy within the coronary heart of the hardest place on Earth. You already know, we’ve acquired 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 type of this enormous, enormous 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’ve been sending cash.

Bennett: Yeah, nevertheless it’s means cheaper than when you’d need to—cheaper in lives and cheaper in value. And we’re doing good for the world in so many facets. 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 to have a look at our safety as paramount. And that’s our prime curiosity. It trumps—pardon the pun—nevertheless it trumps different parts.

When somebody is so supportive of Israel, we’re grateful, and that’s very pure. Now—

Glasser: You don’t fear about Trump not being an sincere dealer? I imply, there’s a danger, isn’t there, in aligning his pursuits so carefully with the coverage viewpoints of the Israeli authorities?

Bennett: I believe Trump is aligning the pursuits of the US of America. What he’s doing is strengthening America. However I do suppose that there’s one drawback, 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. In reality, traditionally, you recognize—

Glasser: No, it’s an enormous shift.

Bennett: It’s a huge shift, and it’s not an excellent 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 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 concept.” This was on his go to again then. I don’t know him nicely. I converse to a few of his of us on an ongoing foundation. They’re very educated about Israel.

Glasser: Have you ever talked with Jared Kushner?

Bennett: I don’t need 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 at all times favorable and so near America for thus a few years. So I believe that is smart.

Glasser: Would you examine him to King Cyrus?

Bennett: I believe what the prime minister meant within the comparability is within the impact that his declaration had on the Jewish folks. And in historical past, there’s a number of well-known declarations. Certainly, King Cyrus declared that the Jews can come again and dwell within the State of Israel. This was nicely over 2,000 years in the past. I’d say 2,500 years about. Balfour, about 100 years in the past, declared Israel because the Jewish house. This can be a main declaration that can go down in historical past. In that sense, I believe it’s a main declaration.

Glasser: So if we sit down a 12 months from now and we revisit this podcast while you come again for subsequent 12 months’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 sport. You vote for him or for me. But, I believe for the great of Israel, I might not need to see Netanyahu step down due to—you recognize, for prison investigation causes. I would like free elections.

Alternatively, I’ve to say, he has been a first-rate minister for a really very long time, and that’s fairly distinctive on the worldwide stage.

Glasser: So that you say you’d wish to be prime minister sometime. What do suppose Israel most wants in a frontrunner proper now?

Bennett: Properly, I believe two parts. Israelis need somebody who can run the nation nicely. I additionally 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 after I stated that on an ethical foundation, you recognize, folks ought to not take items. However in the end, that’s the choice of the voters. So I might need to be a frontrunner by instance, and in addition to run the nation nicely. 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 earth?

Bennett: No. After I stated that, I began occupied with it a bit extra, and I’m unsure that’s one thing that voters care about that a lot, as a lot as they used to. You already know, 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 problem. 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 need to 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 12 months their military service, their obligatory military service, so as to volunteer one other 12 months in agriculture; in serving to folks in low socioeconomic areas. Superb.

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

Glasser: Naftali Bennett, he’s our visitor this week on The World POLITICO. Thanks for visiting us in Washington. We’ll sit up for come visiting you throughout Israel’s election marketing campaign, each time 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 World POLITICO. Subscribe to The World POLITICO on Apple Podcasts here. Subscribe by way of Stitcher here.