/The complete transcript: Naftali Bennett

The complete transcript: Naftali Bennett

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

The International 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 International POLITICO. This week our visitor is Naftali Bennett, who’s one in every of 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 a detailed 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 circumstances pending towards him. His former chief of employees, his former spokesman, are cooperating. There’s a lot hypothesis that this future 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 plenty of others, than Naftali Bennett, who’s a minister in Netanyahu’s cupboard proper now; one of many main figures on the Israeli proper. Naftali Bennett, thanks for becoming a member of us this week.

You’ve simply given one in every of your ordinary, I might say, very participating 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 may very well be residing with Mideast chaos for the following 10, 50, or 100 years extra. Actually, 100 years?

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

Naftali Bennett: Nicely, initially, nice to be right here, Susan. I’m completely satisfied to speak to your listeners. I’m very optimistic, however reasonable. And , we can not outline the atmosphere that we’re in. We don’t decide what the entire Center East will appear like. And proper now there’s large forces which have been in play for a whole bunch of years; the Shiite-Sunni divide taking part in very deep; the disintegration of nation states like Syria, like Iraq.

And these forces go properly past something native that has to do with Israel. Israel shouldn’t be the epicenter of the Center East issues. And the query is—, 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, exceptional state. A lighthouse throughout the storm. We will’t decide how lengthy this tsunami will go on. Will it’s 50 years, 10 years, 200 years? We simply don’t know.

However we don’t get depressed about it. We proceed constructing our superb nation with $40,000 GDP per capita; with the two million Arabs which are changing into half and parcel of Israeli society. You realize, financial savings lives all all over the world with our applied sciences, with our intelligence; simply doing good. And subsequently, I’m very optimistic. We’ll sadly must proceed keeping off our enemies, reminiscent of Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS. Everybody I simply talked about is actually on our border. Actually.

Glasser: Which makes you a rare factor when 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 underneath existential risk. And it’s one thing fairly distinctive. You realize, 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 not afford to lose any battle. We have now to forestall wars as a lot as we are able to, however we’ve to win them as a result of we don’t get a second probability.

And yeah, we’re smack in the course of probably the most troublesome location on earth, nevertheless it’s really 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 robust work for the free world. And by doing it, kind of stopping this tsunami from reaching the remainder of the world. And we’re pleased with it, however on the similar 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 stay a lifetime of feeling threatened. We simply lead superb lives in Israel.

Glasser: Nicely, quite a bit to unpack there. Some individuals worry that the prospects for battle within the brief time period may very well have gone up in consequence the Assad regime showing to reconsolidate a few of its energy in Syria. You would possibly see extra of an opportunity of battle between Israel with Iranians, with Hezbollah. Is that one thing that’s regarding to you proper now?

Bennett: Nicely, sure. I believe battle may be averted in the event that they perceive that we’re approach, approach stronger than all of our enemies mixed, and if we apply pressure when needed, and don’t apply pressure when not needed. Look, the large image is the next: I’ve coined a time period, the “octopus doctrine.” Basically, we’ve received Iran, the top of this octopus, sending its arms to envelop Israel from the north, in Syria and Lebanon by means of its proxies. And within the south, in Gaza, by means 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 resistant to date. We’ve been preventing their arms, however not their head. And it’s been kind of this uneven state of affairs. We’ve received 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 going on because of, say, the Trump administration having come to energy.

Bennett: Nicely, there’s the Israeli aspect after which there’s the American aspect. On the Israeli aspect, completely. We’re utilizing pressure to push again Iran in Syria. We’ve executed a bunch of operations over the previous yr and years to stem this encroachment and this want to turn into an enormous empire. On the American aspect, we’ve 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’re very savvy about politics. I’ve at all times discovered you to be savvy about politics. Not solely about Israeli politics, but additionally about what’s going on right here in the US. A key relationship for Israel, after all.

Yesterday, we noticed a particularly pleasant assembly between the prime minister of Israel and President Trump. Prime Minister Netanyahu in contrast President Trump to King Cyrus, to Harry Truman, to Lord Balfour. This looks 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 determination? Lots of people have been very frightened that the influence can be to close down the peace course of.

Bennett: Nicely, initially, Prime Minister Netanyahu is articulating the overall consensus of the Israeli public, left and proper, of gratitude in the direction of this very brave determination. 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 over time, 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. But it surely additionally has two implications, and also you kind of talked about how will it have an effect on the peace course of.

I believe it’s a paradox, however really it is going to enable, or speed up peace, or allow peace, and for 2 causes. One purpose is, any peace that will have been predicated on dividing Jerusalem has no probability. And by taking Jerusalem off the desk, , it’s exhibiting the opposite aspect a tricky actuality, however it’s actuality. And kind of by hiding this massive elephant within the room for therefore a few years, we knew that there’s no probability for peace.

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

Glasser: Nicely, fast query, do you suppose that the popularity of Jerusalem—there’s actually been a whole lot of debate about this—do you suppose that it implies that east Jerusalem can’t be the capital of a future Palestinian state?

Bennett: Nicely, it’s 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 appropriate. 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 form of fudging it?

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

Glasser: But it surely’s your interpretation?

Bennett: Sure, it’s. I’ll inform you why. As a result of whenever you say “Jerusalem,” , you’re taking 100 individuals on the road, you ask them, “What’s Jerusalem?” In the event that they’ve heard of Jerusalem, they’ll say, “Oh, it’s the Western Wall,” and possibly, “The Temple Mount.” Nobody’s going to inform you it’s some constructing in—I don’t know—the Knesset.

So Jerusalem is Jerusalem. And , you 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, , everybody is aware of what Jerusalem means. It’s the traditional metropolis. It’s the Mount of Olives. It’s the 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, the US and Israel typically have been fairly intently aligned since President Trump took energy. However there was an uncommon rebuke from a White Home spokesman of Prime Minister Netanyahu, saying that it wasn’t true, experiences 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 prepared to think about?

Bennett: Nicely, I can discuss concerning the Israeli aspect. I can not communicate for the People. My sense, initially, is that the president desires to provide peace an opportunity. That sounded good.

Glasser: I’ve heard that tune.

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

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

Bennett: They’re not speaking to the People; not speaking to the Israelis. They’ve kind of fell in love with being the sufferer, the everlasting sufferer, 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 probably the most hawkish chief in Israel, I’m the primary one to say, , they’re not going wherever, we’re not going wherever. There’s Palestinians. There’s Israelis. There’s no massive love within the air, however nobody’s evaporating. We’re all there collectively.

And we’ve received to determine how can we stay the following 100 years side-by-side, as peacefully as potential, with mutual dignity and respect. And I’d concentrate on 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’s not yours. It’s one thing international. Right here we’re speaking concerning the historic 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, actually, was the man who initiated the well-known plan six years in the past. It’s referred to as the “Bennett plan,” basically making use of Israeli regulation on the Israeli-controlled areas.

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

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

Glasser: Yeah, what’s the massive 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, “Nicely, 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: Nicely, do you continue to suppose that the administration goes to launch a peace plan? They talked about doing that, however, after all, the deadline retains occurring and on. I talked with one influential ambassador from the area the opposite day who thought there was no plan. At the least nothing that will be launched.

Bennett: I don’t know. I don’t know. I believe it’s very elusive. The USA has two choices. Whenever you come out with a plan, you both coordinate it with each side prematurely, to some extent, after which deliver it ahead, otherwise you don’t, and also you deliver it ahead. In the event that they’re attempting to coordinate, I believe they’re discovering it fairly troublesome as a result of the elemental subject is that the minimal that they’d agree for, and the utmost that we’d be prepared 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 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 can feed into this peace course of, to the extent there may be one, is the politics of it. And , you may have a state of affairs 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 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’ve been considerably essential, whereas stopping wanting drawing any conclusions about these. You stated in a latest speech that “receiving items so extensively, for therefore lengthy, doesn’t meet the expectations of the citizenry of the State of Israel,” in reference to Prime Minister Netanyahu on this probe. To begin with, how critical is it, and what does it do to the politics of Israel?

Bennett: Nicely, it’s difficult. The prime minister is underneath many various investigations, and it’s actually not a pleasing interval in Israel. I received’t say it’s. And I’d additionally say there’s an important 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 believe we’ve to—that is coming from the hawkish man, me—however I believe that we’ve to have a tradition of discourse that it’s not all black and white; there’s grey within the center.

Setting that apart, I don’t know what is going to occur. It’s being investigated proper now. I do suppose that it’s flawed 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 up to now.

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

Bennett: Nicely, if he’s charged, I assume we’d go to elections. That’s simply what would occur if he’s charged with these costs. Although I’ll say that, , I’ll make that closing determination, from my perspective, as a serious occasion within the coalition, solely after I see what he’s charged about, how extreme it’s, and what’s the overall state of affairs; , what’s occurring with Iran.

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

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

Bennett: I assist our police and our investigators, however I need to say there’s a rare quantity of vitality being invested in these investigations, nearly unprecedented. So I received’t say that there’s a witch hunt, however you possibly can see there’s a whole lot 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: initially, 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 really fairly exceptional that underneath this duress, underneath this stress, he is available in and it appears as if it’s all quiet on the market and we are able to concentrate on issues. And I don’t see any unusual or flawed motives infiltrating safety discussions.

You realize, there was a thesis a number of weeks in the past that he could be attempting 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 appropriate. So completely not. In truth, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been identified 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 battle. Nicely, we had the Gaza battle, that’s true.

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

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

Glasser: You imply within the public polls?

Bennett: Within the public polls, yeah.

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

Bennett: He would possibly.

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

Bennett: It’s a risk. There’s just one one that know if he does, and that’s him. In Israel, the prime minister could be very, very highly effective. If he’s decided to go to elections, there might be elections. I, by the best way, suppose it might be a mistake. We’ve received 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 exceptional diploma of stability underneath Prime Minister Netanyahu. He’s already turn into the longest-serving prime minister since David Ben-Gurion, and is in difficult vary to truly beat that document. I believe it’s 2019, proper—

Bennett: I believe so.

Glasser: —which have him surpassing that document. And but, this disaster across the investigation, wherever it leads, has actually led individuals right into a dialog about what comes after Bibi. And you’ll’t say this, however I can, numerous individuals are speaking about you as a future prime minister of Israel. Is that one thing that you just, at some point, want to see your self difficult for?

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

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

Bennett: That’s appropriate. I’ve a big job to revamp my occasion; to open it up. You realize, traditionally, my occasion was the occasion 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 kind of a no person. Nobody knew who I’m.

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

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

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

Bennett: No, I used to be lucky. In truth, 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 navy; based a startup firm, offered 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 enthusiastic about, 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 occasion then was a contemporary Orthodox occasion. And I stated, “No, no, no. We need to open it up for all Israelis.” I referred to as it the “Jewish Residence,” versus the “Orthodox Residence;” introduced in secular individuals. And it’s extra open, however not open sufficient.

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

Glasser: Might you ever envision a state of affairs the place you’ll rejoin the Likud Occasion or that it actually can 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 job. I believe we would want a giant bang in the suitable aspect, kind of a unification of many events, to be one central entrance. Not in contrast to America, proper, the place there’s two main events, after which you may have caucuses, you may have completely different flavors inside every occasion. I believe that will 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 attempt for.

Glasser: We’re sitting right here in Washington, clearly, and I believe really the prime minister is giving his speech to AIPAC proper as we’re having this dialog. Why is Israel one of many solely nations in the entire world the place views of President Trump are extra favorable than views of Barack Obama? And what do you suppose the long-term implications are for 2 nations which 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 subject. It ought to be bipartisan. And I need to clarify this, why, after which kind of play into your query. The truth that we’re there, the truth that we’re a free, open, very debating society. You realize, it’s Jews for heaven’s sake, so all of us argue all day. It’s an exquisite democracy within the coronary heart of the hardest place on Earth. You realize, we’ve received Syria, ISIS, and Hezbollah on our borders.

That may be a large nationwide curiosity for the US of America as a result of, if you’ll, we’re kind of this large, large plane service, however you don’t must ship a ship. You don’t must ship troops. You don’t must ship gear. We’re there.

Glasser: However we’ve been sending gear.

Bennett: Tools, that’s proper.

Glasser: We have now been sending cash.

Bennett: Yeah, nevertheless it’s approach cheaper than when you’d must—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 risk just about at all times due to the state of affairs. We have now to have 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 now not being an trustworthy dealer? I imply, there’s a threat, isn’t there, in aligning his pursuits so intently with the coverage viewpoints of the Israeli authorities?

Bennett: I believe Trump is aligning the pursuits of the US of America. What he’s doing is strengthening America. However I do suppose that there’s one drawback, and that’s that inside the US, Israel is positioned an increasing number of as a partisan, as a Republican trigger. And that’s not what we’re. In truth, traditionally, —

Glasser: No, it’s a giant shift.

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

Glasser: Have you ever met President Trump your self?

Bennett: I’ve.

Glasser: What did you consider him?

Bennett: Nicely, it was very brief. When he got here to Israel, I shook his hand, and I stated, “Mr. President, this wasn’t within the playing cards. You’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 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 at all times favorable and so near America for therefore a few years. So I believe that is sensible.

Glasser: Would you examine him to King Cyrus?

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

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

Bennett: I hope so. And it is a unusual factor as a result of we’re political rivals. I don’t know in case your listeners perceive, in Israel, I compete with Netanyahu. Through the elections, it’s a zero-sum recreation. You vote for him or for me. But, I believe for the nice of Israel, I might not need to see Netanyahu step down due to—, for felony investigation causes. I need free elections.

Alternatively, 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 wish to be prime minister sometime. What do suppose Israel most wants in a pacesetter proper now?

Bennett: Nicely, I believe two components. Israelis need somebody who can run the nation properly. I additionally suppose that it’s time for somebody who can pose an instance on the values and the best way we conduct ourselves. And that was what I used to be alluding to after I stated that on an ethical foundation, , individuals ought to not take items. However in the end, that’s the choice of the voters. So I might 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 planet?

Bennett: No. After I stated that, I began eager about it a bit extra, and I’m unsure that’s one thing that voters care about that a lot, as a lot as they used to. You realize, we had Menachem Start and David Ben-Gurion, who went all the way down to the desert, to stay within the desert for instance so younger individuals will observe him. I’m unsure that’s a giant subject. 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 training minister, you’re miserable me once more. So we’ll must revisit that query.

Bennett: I don’t need to depress you as a result of I do need to say one factor particularly about Israel, as a result of I don’t know what goes on within the States. Twelfth graders, not less than in Israel, we’re experiencing the very best numbers of volunteering. You realize, 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, as a way 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 International POLITICO. Thanks for visiting us in Washington. We’ll look ahead to come visiting you throughout Israel’s election marketing campaign, every 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 International POLITICO. Subscribe to The International POLITICO on Apple Podcasts here. Subscribe through Stitcher here.