/The total transcript: Naftali Bennett

The total 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 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 considered one of Israel’s rising political stars. We’ll discuss in regards to the political ferment in Israel, together with many different topics, in our dialog this week. Bennett was as soon as a detailed ally and companion of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Now, the prime minister is underneath 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 could lastly be coming to an finish.

Individuals are speaking about what’s going to occur after Bibi. I can’t consider anybody else higher to speak to you about that topic, and 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 considered one of your standard, I’d say, very participating talks right here on the annual AIPAC assembly. You talked loads in regards to the Center East. And I’ve to say, I didn’t discover it to be a super-optimistic take. You stated we could possibly be dwelling with Mideast chaos for the subsequent 10, 50, or 100 years extra. Actually, 100 years?

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

Naftali Bennett: Nicely, to begin with, nice to be right here, Susan. I’m comfortable to speak to your listeners. I’m very optimistic, however reasonable. And you understand, we can’t 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 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 is just not the epicenter of the Center East issues. And the query is—you understand, 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 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 are turning 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 due to this fact, I’m very optimistic. We’ll sadly should proceed heading off our enemies, similar to Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS. Everybody I simply talked about is actually on our border. Actually.

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

Bennett: I imply, from the very inception of the State of Israel, we’ve all the time been underneath existential risk. And it’s one thing fairly distinctive. You already know, no Belgian is underneath existential risk. People will not be underneath existential risk. We’re, however we’ve grown accustomed to it. And it simply means one factor: we can’t afford to lose any conflict. Now we have to stop 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 essentially the most tough location on earth, however it’s truly lucky for the free world that we’re there as a result of we’re preventing them. We’re preventing—today, we’re preventing ISIS on the Syrian border. We’re preventing Iran on the Syrian border. Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS, and the Sinai. And we’re doing the powerful 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 identical time, main superb lives.

You already know, I ran two high-tech corporations only a decade in the past. Israel has the very best 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: Nicely, loads to unpack there. Some individuals concern that the prospects for battle within the brief 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: Nicely, sure. I believe conflict will be averted in the event that they perceive that we’re approach, approach stronger than all of our enemies mixed, and if we apply pressure when vital, and don’t apply pressure when not vital. Look, the large image is the next: I’ve coined a time period, the “octopus doctrine.” Basically, we’ve acquired Iran, the top of this octopus, sending its arms to envelop Israel from the north, in Syria and Lebanon by way of its proxies. And within the south, in Gaza, by way of Hamas, which is a semi-proxy.

And I assume what I’m pushing for in Israel is to focus our power on stemming Iran with diplomatic, financial, and different means as a result of they’ve been proof against date. We’ve been preventing their arms, however not their head. And it’s been form of this uneven scenario. We’ve acquired an issue. Iran desires to export terror and chaos. They’re unhealthy 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 today, on the subject of Iran. However do you see any particular change in coverage? It’s unclear to me, at this level, what new is happening on account of, say, the Trump administration having come to energy.

Bennett: Nicely, there’s the Israeli facet after which there’s the American facet. On the Israeli facet, completely. We’re utilizing pressure to push again Iran in Syria. We’ve completed a bunch of operations over the previous yr and years to stem this encroachment and this want to turn out to be an enormous empire. On the American facet, now we have 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 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’re 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 america. 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 unlimited quantity of gratitude for a reasonably symbolic transfer in deciding to maneuver the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Is it price all of these encomiums, and what do you see the precise impression being on the bottom of this determination? Lots of people have been very frightened that the impression could be to close down the peace course of.

Bennett: Nicely, to begin with, Prime Minister Netanyahu is articulating the overall consensus of the Israeli public, left and proper, of gratitude in 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 shifting the embassy.

It’s greater than symbolic. To start with, I’ve to say, as a nation, that Jerusalem has been our capital for 3,000 years, undisputed capital. It’s been offensive that nobody on the 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 approach way back, and it’s significant. Nevertheless it 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 truly it would 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 understand, it’s exhibiting the opposite facet a troublesome actuality, however it’s actuality. And form 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 facet, so that they’ll simply wait. And each time they wait, they get a greater deal. When you look by way of ’93 by way of 2000, in 2007 the deal simply acquired higher. So why not wait? What he’s truly completed is reverse that vector, that development, and instantly, the Palestinians understand that point is just not essentially on their facet, and perhaps they need to begin shifting.

Glasser: Nicely, fast query, do you assume that the popularity of Jerusalem—there’s actually been quite a lot of debate about this—do you assume that it signifies 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, though formally he didn’t—

Glasser: A united Jerusalem underneath the State of Israel?

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

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

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

Glasser: Nevertheless it’s your interpretation?

Bennett: Sure, it’s. I’ll inform you why. As a result of whenever you say “Jerusalem,” you understand, you are 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 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 understand, you say “Paris,” you consider the Eiffel Tower. So whenever you say Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, it has to imply the traditional metropolis. That’s actually on the crux of all of this. The traditional metropolis, the 4 quarters. And as soon as that half is off the desk, you understand, 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, america 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 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 prepared to contemplate?

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

Glasser: I’ve heard that track.

Bennett: Yeah. He actually desires to offer it a stab. I’m not very optimistic in regards to the probabilities. 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 for the time being to the People, so it’s fairly exhausting to see the People dealer peace.

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

And we’ve 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 assume, 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’s not 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 dwelling there. So what we’d need to do is apply Israeli regulation on that space. And I, the truth is, was the man who initiated the well-known plan six years in the past. It’s referred to as the “Bennett plan,” primarily making use of Israeli regulation on the Israeli-controlled areas.

Glasser: However do you assume it’s one thing that the People 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 received’t be peace.” I discovered {that a} very attention-grabbing 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 assume 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. At the least 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. If you come out with a plan, you both coordinate it with each side prematurely, to some extent, 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 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 choice, the unilateral choice, to only 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 may feed into this peace course of, to the extent there’s one, is the politics of it. And you understand, you’ve got 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 consider that each President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu have referred to as the investigations focused at them a “witch hunt” in latest days. You had the prime minister’s former chief of employees, his former spokesman, each apparently are cooperating with prosecutors on this investigation.

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

Bennett: Nicely, it’s sophisticated. 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 amazing diploma of polarization in Israel, not not like what we see right here within the States, to some extent. And I don’t like that. I don’t like all that polarization. I believe 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 is going to occur. It’s being investigated proper now. I do assume that it’s improper to demand that the prime minister step down simply because he’s being investigated. That may be anti-democratic. He’s not even been charged with one factor thus far.

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

Bennett: Nicely, if he’s charged, I assume we’d go to elections. That’s simply what would occur if he’s charged with these expenses. Although I’ll say that, you understand, I’ll make that ultimate 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 overall scenario; you understand, what’s occurring 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 individuals.

Glasser: Do you assume 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, nearly unprecedented. So I received’t say that there’s a witch hunt, however you may see there’s quite a lot 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 every week, each within the cupboard and within the internal safety cupboard—and he’s functioning properly. 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 will deal with issues. And I don’t see any unusual or improper motives infiltrating safety discussions.

You already know, there was a thesis a couple of weeks in the past that he may 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 appropriate. So completely not. Actually, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been recognized to be very cautious about utilizing pressure, and really cautious—take a look at throughout tenure, throughout his two phrases, we didn’t have a conflict. 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 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 form of a rallying behind him, and due to this fact his help, the truth is, is rising on account 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 assume 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 assume 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 will likely be elections. I, by the way in which, assume it could 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: Nicely, 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 really beat that file. I believe it’s 2019, proper—

Bennett: I believe so.

Glasser: —which have him surpassing that file. 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’ll’t say this, however I can, a lot of individuals are speaking about you as a future prime minister of Israel. Is that one thing that you simply, sooner or later, want to see your self difficult for?

Bennett: Sure. After the period of Netanyahu, I intend to be the prime minister of Israel. I’ve acquired quite a lot 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 major 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: Nicely, after Netanyahu, individuals count on that there could be sort of a serious reorganization on the correct. And also you alluded to a number of the challenges that you’ve got. One in all them, as I perceive it, is that your get together, Jewish House, which is a member of the prime minister’s coalition, has quite a lot of extraordinarily conservative figures in its base, who may be a problem for you as you face a basic voters in Israel.

Bennett: That’s appropriate. I’ve a major activity 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 form of a no one. Nobody knew who I’m.

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

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

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

Bennett: No, I used to be lucky. Actually, they have been the extremely left-wingers. My grandfather, I believe, 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 Warfare. I used to be referred to as into command troops behind enemy strains within the Second Lebanon Warfare, and that modified my life.

I made a decision to depart the high-tech area, which I’m nonetheless very obsessed 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 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 referred to 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 considered one of my challenges, as a result of proper now I’m positioned on the intense facet. And you understand, I’m a extra central determine in Israel.

Glasser: May you ever envision a scenario the place you’d 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 correct facet, form 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’ve got caucuses, you’ve got totally different flavors inside every get together. I believe that might be a more healthy construction for Israel.

Glasser: Quite 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 try for.

Glasser: We’re sitting right here in Washington, clearly, and I believe truly the prime minister is giving his speech to AIPAC proper as we’re having this dialog. Why is Israel one of many solely nations in the entire world the place views of President Trump are extra favorable than views of Barack Obama? And what do you assume 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 must 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 attractive 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 could be a big nationwide curiosity for america of America as a result of, if you’ll, we’re form of this big, big plane service, 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 now we have been sending tools.

Bennett: Tools, that’s proper.

Glasser: Now we have been sending cash.

Bennett: Yeah, however it’s approach cheaper than should you’d should—cheaper in lives and cheaper in price. And we’re doing good for the world in so many elements. Now, your query was in regards to the Israeli public sentiment to President Trump. As a result of Israel, as I discussed twice already, is a rustic that’s in existential risk just about all the time due to the scenario. Now we have 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 now not being an trustworthy dealer? I imply, there’s a danger, 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 america of America. What he’s doing is strengthening America. However I do assume that there’s one drawback, and that’s that inside america, Israel is positioned increasingly as a partisan, as a Republican trigger. And that’s not what we’re. Actually, traditionally, you understand—

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 would like.

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 concept.” This was on his go to again then. I don’t know him properly. I communicate to a few of his of us on an ongoing foundation. They’re very educated about Israel.

Glasser: Have you ever talked with Jared Kushner?

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

Glasser: Would you evaluate him to King Cyrus?

Bennett: I believe what the prime minister meant within the comparability is within the impact that his declaration had on the Jewish individuals. And in historical past, there’s a couple of well-known declarations. Certainly, King Cyrus declared that the Jews can come again and dwell within the State of Israel. This was 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 dwelling. This can be a main declaration that may go down in historical past. In that sense, I believe it’s a main declaration.

Glasser: So if we sit down a yr from now and we revisit this podcast whenever you come again for subsequent yr’s AIPAC, a pair questions. Do you assume that Benjamin Netanyahu will nonetheless be prime minister of Israel?

Bennett: I hope so. And 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 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 understand, for prison investigation causes. I would like free elections.

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

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

Bennett: Nicely, I believe two components. Israelis need somebody who can run the nation properly. I additionally assume that it’s time for somebody who can pose an instance on the values and the way in which we conduct ourselves. And that was what I used to be alluding to after I stated that on an ethical foundation, you understand, individuals ought to not take presents. However finally, 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 factor within the political world wherever proper now.

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

Bennett: No. After I stated that, I began enthusiastic 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 right down to the desert, to dwell 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 should 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 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. 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 stay 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 through Stitcher here.