/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 Photos

The International Politico

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

gp-badgeSubscribe to The International POLITICO on Apple Podcasts here. | Subscribe by way of Stitcher here.

Susan Glasser: Hello, that is Susan Glasser, and welcome to The International POLITICO. This week our visitor is Naftali Bennett, who’s certainly 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 accomplice of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Now, the prime minister is beneath investigation. It seems to be as if there are three separate circumstances pending in opposition to him. His former chief of workers, his former spokesman, are cooperating. There’s a lot hypothesis that this long term in Israeli politics might lastly be coming to an finish.

Individuals are speaking about what’s going to occur after Bibi. I can’t consider anybody else higher to speak to you about that topic, and 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 certainly one of your typical, I might say, very partaking 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 may very well 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: Effectively, to begin with, nice to be right here, Susan. I’m completely happy to speak to your listeners. I’m very optimistic, however reasonable. And you understand, 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 enormous forces which have been in play for lots of of years; the Shiite-Sunni divide enjoying very deep; the disintegration of nation states like Syria, like Iraq.

And these forces go nicely past something native that has to do with Israel. Israel 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 throughout the storm. We will’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 wonderful nation with $40,000 GDP per capita; with the two million Arabs which are turning into half and parcel of Israeli society. , financial savings lives all around the globe with our applied sciences, with our intelligence; simply doing good. And subsequently, I’m very optimistic. We’ll sadly need to proceed warding off our enemies, resembling Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS. Everybody I simply talked about is actually on our border. Actually.

Glasser: Which makes you a rare factor in case 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 beneath existential menace. And it’s one thing fairly distinctive. , no Belgian is beneath existential menace. Individuals aren’t beneath existential menace. We’re, however we’ve grown accustomed to it. And it simply means one factor: we can’t afford to lose any conflict. We’ve to forestall wars as a lot as we will, however now we have to win them as a result of we don’t get a second probability.

And yeah, we’re smack in the midst of essentially the most tough location on earth, but it surely’s truly lucky for the free world that we’re there as a result of we’re 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 robust work for the free world. And by doing it, form of stopping this tsunami from reaching the remainder of the world. And we’re happy with it, however on the similar time, main excellent lives.

, I ran two high-tech firms only a decade in the past. Israel has one of the best ecosystem second solely to Silicon Valley on the planet. So that you’re proper, it’s this peculiar scenario the place, on the one hand, we’re threatened, however we don’t reside a lifetime of feeling threatened. We simply lead wonderful lives in Israel.

Glasser: Effectively, 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: Effectively, sure. I believe conflict could 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 vital, and don’t apply drive when not vital. Look, the large image is the next: I’ve coined a time period, the “octopus doctrine.” Basically, we’ve obtained Iran, the top of this octopus, sending its arms to envelop Israel from the north, in Syria and Lebanon via its proxies. And within the south, in Gaza, via Hamas, which is a semi-proxy.

And I 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 resistant to date. We’ve been combating their arms, however not their head. And it’s been form of this uneven scenario. 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 individuals are fantastic.

Glasser: There’s harder rhetoric popping out of Washington, in addition to Jerusalem as of late, in terms 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: Effectively, 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 yr and years to stem this encroachment and this need to develop into an enormous empire. On the American aspect, now we have feeling that America has our again. We don’t count on America—and we’ve by no means anticipated American troopers to battle our battles, and we gained’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, in fact.

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

Bennett: Effectively, to begin with, Prime Minister Netanyahu is articulating the final consensus of the Israeli public, left and proper, of gratitude in direction of this very brave resolution. 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 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 planet acknowledges that straightforward truth. I imply, think about the way you’d really feel if the world didn’t acknowledge Washington, D.C. And it’s such an apparent factor that ought to have occurred approach way back, and it’s significant. 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 enable, or speed up peace, or allow peace, and for 2 causes. One motive is, any peace that may have been predicated on dividing Jerusalem has no probability. And by taking Jerusalem off the desk, you understand, 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 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. For those who look via ’93 via 2000, in 2007 the deal simply obtained higher. So why not wait? What he’s truly performed is reverse that vector, that pattern, and immediately, the Palestinians understand that point is just not essentially on their aspect, and possibly they need to begin shifting.

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

Bennett: Effectively, it’s query, however my reply is sure. It does imply a united Jerusalem, regardless that formally he didn’t—

Glasser: A united Jerusalem beneath the State of Israel?

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

Glasser: And also you assume that’s the U.S. interpretation, regardless that 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: Nevertheless it’s your interpretation?

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

Bennett: Effectively, I can discuss in regards to the Israeli aspect. I can’t communicate 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 tune.

Bennett: Yeah. He actually needs to provide it a stab. I’m not very optimistic in regards to the probabilities. 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 intervening time to the Individuals, so it’s fairly exhausting 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, regardless that there’s a lot good things that we will do collectively. As a result of I do wish 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 large love within the air, however nobody’s evaporating. We’re all there collectively.

And we’ve obtained to determine how can we reside 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 isn’t yours. It’s one thing overseas. Right here we’re speaking in regards to the historic land of Israel, which is Jewish, is Israeli, although there’s Palestinians dwelling there. So what we might wish to do is apply Israeli regulation on that space. And I, in reality, was the man who initiated the well-known plan six years in the past. It’s known as the “Bennett plan,” basically making use of Israeli regulation on the Israeli-controlled areas.

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

Bennett: Effectively, I believe that proper now they wish to give an opportunity to the large deal. , the well-known deal.

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

Bennett: I don’t know.

Glasser: Individuals are skeptical.

Bennett: I don’t know. I imply, President Trump yesterday was requested, “What occurs if the Palestinians don’t come to the desk?” He gave a quite simple reply. He stated, “Effectively, there gained’t be peace.” I discovered {that a} very fascinating reply. That’s right. , we’d love them to return to the desk. It doesn’t appear it’s going to occur.

Glasser: No, do you continue to—

Bennett: And we’re 51 years on.

Glasser: Effectively, do you continue to assume that the administration goes to launch a peace plan? They talked about doing that, however, in fact, the deadline retains happening and on. I talked with one influential ambassador from the area the opposite day who thought there was no plan. Not less than nothing that may be launched.

Bennett: I don’t know. I don’t know. I believe it’s very elusive. The US has two choices. Once you come out with a plan, you both coordinate it with each 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 attempting to coordinate, I believe they’re discovering it fairly tough as a result of the elemental situation 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 wish to hear your response.” And which 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 understand, you might have a scenario the place each Prime Minister Netanyahu, in addition to President Trump right here, are each beneath investigations that appear to be growing in steam. I consider that each President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu have known as the investigations focused at them a “witch hunt” in current days. You had the prime minister’s former chief of workers, his former spokesman, each apparently are cooperating with prosecutors on this investigation.

You’ve got been considerably crucial, whereas stopping wanting drawing any conclusions about these. You stated in a current speech that “receiving presents 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 start with, how severe is it, and what does it do to the politics of Israel?

Bennett: Effectively, it’s difficult. The prime minister is beneath many alternative investigations, and it’s actually not a nice interval in Israel. I gained’t say it’s. And I’d additionally say there’s an important 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 fallacious 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 aspect thus far.

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

Bennett: Effectively, if he’s charged, I assume we’d go to elections. That’s simply what would occur if he’s charged with these fees. Although I’ll say that, you understand, I’ll make that ultimate resolution, 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 final scenario; you understand, what’s happening with Iran.

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

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

Bennett: I assist our police and our investigators, however I have to say there’s a rare quantity of power being invested in these investigations, virtually unprecedented. So I gained’t say that there’s a witch hunt, however you possibly can see there’s loads 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 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 instances per week, each within the cupboard and within the inside safety cupboard—and he’s functioning nicely. It’s truly fairly outstanding that beneath this duress, beneath this stress, 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 fallacious motives infiltrating safety discussions.

, there was a thesis a number of weeks in the past that he is perhaps attempting to warmth up the area. No, he’s not.

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

Bennett: That’s right. So completely not. In actual fact, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been recognized to be very cautious about utilizing drive, and really cautious—take a look at throughout tenure, throughout his two phrases, we didn’t have a conflict. Effectively, 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 reality, is rising on account of these—in Israel.

Glasser: You imply within the public polls?

Bennett: Within the public polls, yeah.

Glasser: Effectively, 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 who know if he does, and that’s him. In Israel, the prime minister could be very, very highly effective. If he’s decided to go to elections, there will probably be elections. I, by the way in which, assume it might 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 total time period. However I believe it’s unhealthy for any state, any nation, to go on too frequent elections. We want stability.

Glasser: Effectively, you’ve had a outstanding diploma of stability beneath Prime Minister Netanyahu. He’s already develop into the longest-serving prime minister since David Ben-Gurion, and is in difficult vary to really beat that report. I believe it’s 2019, proper—

Bennett: I believe so.

Glasser: —which have him surpassing that report. And but, this disaster across the investigation, wherever it leads, has 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 simply, someday, 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 obtained loads 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 develop into the subsequent prime minister.

Glasser: Effectively, after Netanyahu, individuals count on that there could be form of a serious reorganization on the appropriate. And also you alluded to a number of the challenges that you’ve got. Certainly one of them, as I perceive it, is that your social gathering, Jewish Residence, which is a member of the prime minister’s coalition, has loads of extraordinarily conservative figures in its base, who is perhaps a problem for you as you face a basic citizens in Israel.

Bennett: That’s right. I’ve a major process to revamp my social gathering; to open it up. , traditionally, my social gathering was the social gathering of Orthodox Jews, trendy 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 important scholar?

Bennett: No, I used to be lucky. In actual fact, they have been the extremely left-wingers. My grandfather, I believe, with communist opinions in San Francisco within the ’50s and ’60s. So, not very talked-about. 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 known 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 enviornment, which I’m nonetheless very keen about, and to hitch Netanyahu as his chief of workers 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 wish to open it up for all Israelis.” I known as it the “Jewish Residence,” versus the “Orthodox Residence;” introduced in secular individuals. And it’s extra open, however not open sufficient.

And that’s certainly one of my challenges, as a result of proper now I’m positioned on the acute aspect. 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 Get together or that it actually could be revamped considerably after Netanyahu?

Bennett: Effectively, I believe after Netanyahu—I’m not urgent him to go, as I stated, and he’s doing job. I believe we would want an enormous bang in the appropriate aspect, 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 might have caucuses, you might have totally different flavors inside every social gathering. I believe that may be a more healthy construction for Israel.

Glasser: Reasonably than all these little events?

Bennett: That’s right. Not that it doesn’t work, however I believe it’s one thing that we must always attempt for.

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

Bennett: That’s a really salient level. Israel shouldn’t be a partisan situation. It ought to be bipartisan. And I wish 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. , it’s Jews for heaven’s sake, so all of us argue all day. It’s a fantastic democracy within the coronary heart of the hardest place on Earth. , we’ve obtained Syria, ISIS, and Hezbollah on our borders.

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

Glasser: However now we have been sending gear.

Bennett: Tools, that’s proper.

Glasser: We’ve been sending cash.

Bennett: Yeah, but it surely’s approach cheaper than in case you’d need to—cheaper in lives and cheaper in value. And we’re doing good for the world in so many features. Now, your query was in regards to the Israeli public sentiment to President Trump. As a result of Israel, as I discussed twice already, is a rustic that’s in existential menace just about all the time due to the scenario. We’ve to take a look at our safety as paramount. And that’s our high curiosity. It trumps—pardon the pun—but it surely trumps different parts.

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

Glasser: You don’t fear about Trump 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 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 an increasing number of as a partisan, as a Republican trigger. And that’s not what we’re. In actual fact, traditionally, you understand—

Glasser: No, it’s an enormous shift.

Bennett: It’s a large 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: Effectively, 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 possibly can 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 nicely. 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 wish 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 therefore a few years. So I believe that is smart.

Glasser: Would you examine him to King Cyrus?

Bennett: I believe what the prime minister meant within the comparability is within the impact that his declaration had on the Jewish 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 nicely over 2,000 years in the past. I’d say 2,500 years about. Balfour, about 100 years in the past, declared Israel because the Jewish 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 while 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. Through the elections, it’s a zero-sum sport. You vote for him or for me. But, I believe for the nice of Israel, I might not wish to see Netanyahu step down due to—you understand, for legal investigation causes. I need 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 frontrunner proper now?

Bennett: Effectively, I believe two parts. Israelis need somebody who can run the nation nicely. 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 once I stated that on an ethical foundation, you understand, individuals ought to not take presents. However in the end, that’s the choice of the voters. So I might wish to be a frontrunner by instance, and in addition to run the nation nicely. It’s two various things.

I’m undecided although—I imply, on the instance half, I’m undecided that could be a main aspect 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 undecided that’s one thing that voters care about that a lot, as a lot as they used to. , we had Menachem Start and David Ben-Gurion, who went all the way down to the desert, to reside within the desert for instance so younger individuals will comply with him. I’m undecided that’s an enormous situation. I’m undecided that younger individuals view their leaders as a possible instance. I don’t know. It’s an enormous query.

Glasser: Effectively, I don’t know. Because the training minister, you’re miserable me once more. So we’ll need to revisit that query.

Bennett: I don’t wish to depress you as a result of I do wish 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 very best numbers of volunteering. , in Israel, everybody has to go to the military. So many, many Israelis are deferring by one yr their military service, their obligatory military service, to be able to volunteer one other yr in agriculture; in serving to individuals in low socioeconomic areas. Wonderful.

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 stay up for 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 by way of Stitcher here.