/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 considered one of Israel’s rising political stars. We’ll speak concerning the political ferment in Israel, together with many different topics, in our dialog this week. Bennett was as soon as an in depth ally and companion 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 could lastly be coming to an finish.

Persons are speaking about what’s going to occur after Bibi. I can’t consider anybody else higher to speak to you about that topic, and 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 considered one of your typical, I might say, very partaking talks right here on the annual AIPAC assembly. You talked quite a bit concerning the Center East. And I’ve to say, I didn’t discover it to be a super-optimistic take. You stated we might be dwelling with Mideast chaos for the following 10, 50, or 100 years extra. Actually, 100 years?

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

Naftali Bennett: Properly, to begin with, nice to be right here, Susan. I’m joyful to speak to your listeners. I’m very optimistic, however practical. And you realize, we can’t outline the surroundings that we’re in. We don’t decide what the entire Center East will appear like. And proper now there’s large forces which were in play for a whole bunch of years; the Shiite-Sunni divide taking part in very deep; the disintegration of nation states like Syria, like Iraq.

And these forces go effectively 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 realize, 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 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 turning into half and parcel of Israeli society. You realize, financial savings lives all world wide with our applied sciences, with our intelligence; simply doing good. And subsequently, I’m very optimistic. We’ll sadly need to proceed keeping off our enemies, corresponding 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 state of affairs.

Bennett: I imply, from the very inception of the State of Israel, we’ve at all times been beneath existential risk. And it’s one thing fairly distinctive. You realize, no Belgian is beneath existential risk. Individuals aren’t beneath existential risk. 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 we’ve got 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 really lucky for the free world that we’re there as a result of we’re combating them. We’re combating—as of late, we’re combating ISIS on the Syrian border. We’re combating Iran on the Syrian border. Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS, and the Sinai. And we’re doing the 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 realize, 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 planet. So that you’re proper, it’s this peculiar state of affairs the place, on the one hand, we’re threatened, however we don’t reside a lifetime of feeling threatened. We simply lead superb lives in Israel.

Glasser: Properly, quite a bit to unpack there. Some individuals concern 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 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 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 drive when crucial, and don’t apply drive when not crucial. Look, the large image is the next: I’ve coined a time period, the “octopus doctrine.” Basically, we’ve obtained Iran, the pinnacle 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 suppose what I’m pushing for in Israel is to focus our vitality on stemming Iran with diplomatic, financial, and different means as a result of they’ve been proof against date. We’ve been combating their arms, however not their head. And it’s been form of this uneven state of affairs. We’ve obtained an issue. Iran needs to export terror and chaos. They’re unhealthy guys. Not the Iranian individuals, however the Iranian regime. The Persian persons are fantastic.

Glasser: There’s more durable rhetoric popping out of Washington, in addition to Jerusalem as of late, with regards to 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 drive 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 need to grow to be an enormous empire. On the American aspect, we’ve got a great feeling that America has our again. We don’t anticipate 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 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 might be 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 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 as if 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 choice? Lots of people have been very frightened that the influence can be to close down the peace course of.

Bennett: Properly, to begin with, Prime Minister Netanyahu is articulating the overall consensus of the Israeli public, left and proper, of gratitude in the direction of this very brave choice. And President Trump was proper about one thing he stated. He stated all presidents promised it through the marketing campaign, and he’s the one which delivered. That’s really a reasonably correct portrait of what occurred. We’ve seen all these AIPAC speeches through the years, and he’s the primary man who got here and did it. And did each issues: acknowledged our capital and is transferring 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 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. However it additionally has two implications, and also you form of talked about how will it have an effect on the peace course of.

I feel it’s a paradox, however really it’s going to enable, or speed up peace, or allow peace, and for 2 causes. One cause is, any peace that will have been predicated on dividing Jerusalem has no probability. And by taking Jerusalem off the desk, you realize, it’s displaying the opposite aspect a troublesome actuality, however it’s actuality. And form of by hiding this large 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, in order that they’ll simply wait. And each time they wait, they get a greater deal. In case you look by way of ’93 by way of 2000, in 2007 the deal simply obtained higher. So why not wait? What he’s really performed is reverse that vector, that pattern, and out of the blue, the Palestinians understand that point will not 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 a variety 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 a great query, however my reply is sure. It does imply a united Jerusalem, although formally he didn’t—

Glasser: A united Jerusalem beneath the State of Israel?

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

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

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

Glasser: However it’s your interpretation?

Bennett: Sure, it’s. I’ll let you know why. As a result of once you say “Jerusalem,” you realize, 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 let you know it’s some constructing in—I don’t know—the Knesset.

So Jerusalem is Jerusalem. And you realize, you say “Paris,” you consider the Eiffel Tower. So once you say Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, it has to imply the traditional metropolis. That’s actually on the crux of all of this. The traditional metropolis, the 4 quarters. And as soon as that half is off the desk, you realize, 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—really, 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, studies 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} chance so far as you’re involved, each on the Israeli aspect, and is it one thing the Individuals are keen to contemplate?

Bennett: Properly, I can speak concerning the Israeli aspect. I can’t converse for the Individuals. 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 obtained a failed, corrupt state. There’s nothing going there.

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

Bennett: They’re not speaking to the Individuals; not speaking to the Israelis. They’ve form of fell in love with being the sufferer, the everlasting sufferer, although there’s a lot great things that we are able to do collectively. As a result of I do need to say this, as essentially the most hawkish chief in Israel, I’m the primary one to say, you realize, 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 obtained to determine how will we reside the following 100 years side-by-side, as peacefully as potential, 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 chance?

Bennett: Yeah. I don’t name it an annexation as a result of annexing is annexing one thing that’s not yours. It’s one thing overseas. Right here we’re speaking concerning the historic land of Israel, which is Jewish, is Israeli, although there’s Palestinians dwelling 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 referred to 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 Individuals are extra open to now?

Bennett: Properly, I feel that proper now they need to give an opportunity to the large deal. You realize, 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 stated, “Properly, there received’t be peace.” I discovered {that a} very fascinating reply. That’s appropriate. You realize, we’d love them to come back to the desk. It doesn’t appear it’s going to occur.

Glasser: No, do you continue to—

Bennett: And we’re 51 years on.

Glasser: Properly, do you continue to suppose that the administration goes to launch a peace plan? They talked about doing that, however, 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 will be launched.

Bennett: I don’t know. I don’t know. I feel it’s very elusive. The US has two choices. Whenever you come out with a plan, you both coordinate it with either side prematurely, to some extent, after which convey it ahead, otherwise you don’t, and also you convey 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 subject 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 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 elements that may feed into this peace course of, to the extent there’s one, is the politics of it. And you realize, you might have a state of affairs the place each Prime Minister Netanyahu, in addition to President Trump right here, are each beneath investigations that appear to be rising in steam. I consider that each President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu have referred to 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 may have been considerably important, 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 begin with, how critical is it, and what does it do to the politics of Israel?

Bennett: Properly, it’s difficult. The prime minister is beneath many various investigations, and it’s definitely not a pleasing interval in Israel. I received’t say it’s. And I’d additionally say there’s an awesome 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 we’ve got to—that is coming from the hawkish man, me—however I feel that we’ve got 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 incorrect 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 factor 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 expenses. Although I’ll say that, you realize, I’ll make that closing choice, from my perspective, as a serious social gathering within the coalition, solely once I see what he’s charged about, how extreme it’s, and what’s the overall state of affairs; you realize, what’s occurring with Iran.

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

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

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

Now, what does it do to politics? Israel’s very fascinating right here. What it’s doing is the next: to begin with, so far as I can see—and I see the prime minister many occasions per week, each within the cupboard and within the inside safety cupboard—and he’s functioning effectively. It’s really 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 are able to deal with issues. And I don’t see any unusual or incorrect motives infiltrating safety discussions.

You realize, there was a thesis a number 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 at all times consider that film.

Bennett: That’s appropriate. So completely not. Actually, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been identified 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 form of a rallying behind him, and subsequently his assist, 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 individuals to suppose that he would possibly name elections even earlier, snap elections, as a way to shore up his base.

Bennett: He would possibly.

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

Bennett: It’s a chance. 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 might be elections. I, by the way in which, suppose it could be a mistake. We’ve obtained a authorities that’s been working for about two years and eight months; a bit greater than half of the complete time period. However I feel 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 beneath Prime Minister Netanyahu. He’s already grow to be the longest-serving prime minister since David Ben-Gurion, and is in difficult vary to really 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 definitely led individuals right into a dialog about what comes after Bibi. And you’ll’t say this, however I can, numerous persons are speaking about you as a future prime minister of Israel. Is that one thing that you just, in the future, wish to see your self difficult for?

Bennett: Sure. After the period of Netanyahu, I intend to be the prime minister of Israel. I’ve obtained a variety of work to do, as a result of for a lot of causes, it’s very powerful from my present place to succeed in 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 primary minister, he’s definitely doing a good job. So I stand behind him. But when he steps down, I completely intend to contend and grow to be the following prime minister.

Glasser: Properly, after Netanyahu, individuals anticipate that there can be form of a serious reorganization on the fitting. And also you alluded to among the challenges that you’ve. One among them, as I perceive it, is that your social gathering, Jewish Dwelling, which is a member of the prime minister’s coalition, has a variety of extraordinarily conservative figures in its base, who is likely to be a problem for you as you face a common citizens in Israel.

Bennett: That’s appropriate. I’ve a major process to revamp my social gathering; to open it up. You realize, traditionally, my social gathering was the social gathering 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 mother and father are from San Francisco, Berkeley.

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

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

I made a decision to depart the high-tech enviornment, which I’m nonetheless very captivated 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 social gathering then was a contemporary Orthodox social gathering. And I stated, “No, no, no. We need to open it up for all Israelis.” I referred to as it the “Jewish Dwelling,” versus the “Orthodox Dwelling;” 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 aspect. And you realize, I’m a extra central determine in Israel.

Glasser: Might you ever envision a state of affairs the place you’d rejoin the Likud Occasion or that it actually can be revamped considerably after Netanyahu?

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

Glasser: Somewhat than all these little events?

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

Glasser: We’re sitting right here in Washington, clearly, and I feel really the prime minister is giving his speech to AIPAC proper as we’re having this dialog. Why is Israel one of many solely nations in the entire world the place views of President Trump are extra favorable than views of Barack Obama? And what do you suppose the long-term implications are for 2 nations which were very shut, however the place there’s now a partisan taste to that alliance?

Bennett: That’s a really salient level. Israel shouldn’t be a partisan subject. 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 realize, it’s Jews for heaven’s sake, so all of us argue all day. It’s a lovely democracy within the coronary heart of the hardest place on Earth. You realize, we’ve obtained Syria, ISIS, and Hezbollah on our borders.

That may be a large nationwide curiosity for america of America as a result of, if you’ll, we’re form of this large, large plane provider, however you don’t have to ship a ship. You don’t have to ship troops. You don’t have to ship tools. We’re there.

Glasser: However we’ve got been sending tools.

Bennett: Tools, that’s proper.

Glasser: We’ve been sending cash.

Bennett: Yeah, nevertheless it’s approach cheaper than should you’d need to—cheaper in lives and cheaper in price. 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 risk just about at all times due to the state of affairs. We’ve to take a look at our safety as paramount. And that’s our high curiosity. It trumps—pardon the pun—nevertheless it trumps different components.

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

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

Bennett: I feel Trump is aligning the pursuits of america of America. What he’s doing is strengthening America. However I do suppose that there’s one drawback, and that’s that inside america, Israel is positioned increasingly more as a partisan, as a Republican trigger. And that’s not what we’re. Actually, traditionally, you realize—

Glasser: No, it’s an enormous shift.

Bennett: It’s a large shift, and it’s not a great shift, and it’s not one which we wish.

Glasser: Have you ever met President Trump your self?

Bennett: I’ve.

Glasser: What did you consider him?

Bennett: 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’ll be able to go down in historical past as the primary man who acknowledged Jerusalem because the Jewish capital.” And he stated, “Oh, that’s an thought.” This was on his go to again then. I don’t know him effectively. 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 a lot of his individuals. Very educated of Israel, very optimistic about Israel, which I feel 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 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 number of well-known declarations. Certainly, King Cyrus declared that the Jews can come again and reside within the State of Israel. This was effectively over 2,000 years in the past. I’d say 2,500 years about. Balfour, about 100 years in the past, declared Israel because the Jewish house. This can be a main declaration that may go down in historical past. In that sense, I feel it’s a main declaration.

Glasser: So if we sit down a 12 months from now and we revisit this podcast once 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. Through the elections, it’s a zero-sum sport. You vote for him or for me. But, I feel for the great of Israel, I might not need to see Netanyahu step down due to—you realize, for legal investigation causes. I need free elections.

Alternatively, I’ve to say, he has been a primary 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 effectively. I additionally suppose that it’s time for somebody who can pose an instance on the values and the way in which we conduct ourselves. And that was what I used to be alluding to once I stated that on an ethical foundation, you realize, individuals ought to not take items. However finally, that’s the choice of the voters. So I might need to be a pacesetter by instance, and in addition to run the nation effectively. It’s two various things.

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

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

Bennett: No. After I stated that, I began fascinated 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 realize, we had Menachem Start and David Ben-Gurion, who went all the way down to the desert, to reside within the desert for example so younger individuals will comply with him. I’m unsure that’s an enormous subject. I’m unsure that younger individuals view their leaders as a possible instance. I don’t know. It’s an enormous query.

Glasser: Properly, I don’t know. Because the schooling 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, at the very least in Israel, we’re experiencing the best numbers of volunteering. You realize, 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, as a way to volunteer one other 12 months in agriculture; in serving to individuals 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 look ahead to come visiting you throughout Israel’s election marketing campaign, each time that could be.

Bennett: Thanks very a lot. This was nice.

Glasser: Thanks.

Susan Glasser is POLITICO’s chief worldwide affairs columnist and host of its weekly podcast, The World POLITICO. Subscribe to The World POLITICO on Apple Podcasts here. Subscribe by way of Stitcher here.