/The total transcript: Naftali Bennett

The total transcript: Naftali Bennett

Naftali Bennett arrives for the weekly cupboard assembly in Jerusalem | Abir Sultan/AFP by way of Getty Pictures

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 all 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 as if there are three separate circumstances pending in opposition to him. His former chief of employees, his former spokesman, are cooperating. There’s a lot hypothesis that this long term in Israeli politics could lastly be coming to an finish.

Individuals are speaking about what’s going to occur after Bibi. I can’t consider anybody else higher to speak to you about that topic, and plenty of others, than Naftali Bennett, who’s a minister in Netanyahu’s cupboard proper now; one of many main figures on the Israeli proper. Naftali Bennett, thanks for becoming a member of us this week.

You’ve simply given one in all your ordinary, I might say, very partaking talks right here on the annual AIPAC assembly. You talked so much in regards to the Center East. And I’ve to say, I didn’t discover it to be a super-optimistic take. You mentioned we may very well be residing with Mideast chaos for the subsequent 10, 50, or 100 years extra. Actually, 100 years?

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

Naftali Bennett: Nicely, to begin with, nice to be right here, Susan. I’m pleased to speak to your listeners. I’m very optimistic, however sensible. And , we can’t 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 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 nicely past something native that has to do with Israel. Israel shouldn’t be the epicenter of the Center East issues. And the query is—, that is the fact. What do you do within the face of that actuality? And my method, I name it the “lighthouse.” Israel is a democratic, outstanding state. A lighthouse inside the storm. We are able to’t decide how lengthy this tsunami will go on. Will 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 understand, financial savings lives all all over the world with our applied sciences, with our intelligence; simply doing good. And subsequently, I’m very optimistic. We’ll sadly need to proceed keeping off our enemies, equivalent to 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 all the time been beneath existential menace. And it’s one thing fairly distinctive. You understand, no Belgian is beneath existential menace. Individuals usually are not 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 have now 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 course of essentially the most troublesome location on earth, but it surely’s really lucky for the free world that we’re there as a result of we’re combating them. We’re combating—lately, 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, kind of stopping this tsunami from reaching the remainder of the world. And we’re happy with it, however on the identical time, main superb lives.

You understand, I ran two high-tech corporations 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 state of affairs the place, on the one hand, we’re threatened, however we don’t dwell a lifetime of feeling threatened. We simply lead superb lives in Israel.

Glasser: Nicely, so much to unpack there. Some folks worry that the prospects for battle within the quick time period may very well have gone up because of this 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 feel conflict may be averted in the event that they perceive that we’re manner, manner stronger than all of our enemies mixed, and if we apply pressure when crucial, and don’t apply pressure when not crucial. Look, the massive image is the next: I’ve coined a time period, the “octopus doctrine.” Primarily, we’ve bought Iran, the top of this octopus, sending its arms to envelop Israel from the north, in Syria and Lebanon via its proxies. And within the south, in Gaza, via Hamas, which is a semi-proxy.

And I suppose what I’m pushing for in Israel is to focus our 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 kind of this uneven state of affairs. We’ve bought an issue. Iran desires to export terror and chaos. They’re dangerous guys. Not the Iranian folks, however the Iranian regime. The Persian persons are great.

Glasser: There’s more durable rhetoric popping out of Washington, in addition to Jerusalem lately, on the subject of Iran. However do you see any particular change in coverage? It’s unclear to me, at this level, what new is going on on account of, say, the Trump administration having come to energy.

Bennett: Nicely, there’s the Israeli facet after which there’s the American facet. On the Israeli facet, completely. We’re utilizing pressure to push again Iran in Syria. We’ve completed a bunch of operations over the previous 12 months and years to stem this encroachment and this need to change into an enormous empire. On the American facet, 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 received’t. We’ll by no means ask America to ship troops to defend us. We’ll all the time defend ourselves, by ourselves, however we do want America giving us its backing.

Glasser: All proper. So, Naftali Bennett, we’re right here in Washington. You’re very savvy about politics. I’ve all the time discovered you to be savvy about politics. Not solely about Israeli politics, but additionally about what’s going on right here in america. A key relationship for Israel, after all.

Yesterday, we noticed an especially pleasant assembly between the prime minister of Israel and President Trump. Prime Minister Netanyahu in contrast President Trump to King Cyrus, to Harry Truman, to Lord Balfour. This looks like an unlimited quantity of gratitude for a reasonably symbolic transfer in deciding to maneuver the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Is it price all of these encomiums, and what do you see the precise influence being on the bottom of this choice? Lots of people had been very anxious that the influence can be to close down the peace course of.

Bennett: Nicely, to begin with, Prime Minister Netanyahu is articulating the overall consensus of the Israeli public, left and proper, of gratitude in the direction of this very brave choice. And President Trump was proper about one thing he mentioned. He mentioned all presidents promised it in the course of 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 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 manner way back, and it’s significant. However it additionally has two implications, and also you kind of talked about how will it have an effect on the peace course of.

I feel it’s a paradox, however really it is going to enable, or speed up peace, or allow peace, and for 2 causes. One cause is, any peace that may have been predicated on dividing Jerusalem has no probability. And by taking Jerusalem off the desk, , it’s exhibiting the opposite facet a troublesome actuality, however it’s actuality. And kind 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 facet, 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 bought higher. So why not wait? What he’s really completed is reverse that vector, that development, and all of the sudden, the Palestinians notice that point shouldn’t be essentially on their facet, and perhaps they need to begin transferring.

Glasser: Nicely, fast query, do you suppose that the popularity of Jerusalem—there’s actually been lots of debate about this—do you suppose that it signifies 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, 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 sort of fudging it?

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

So Jerusalem is Jerusalem. And , you 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 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 carefully aligned since President Trump took energy. However there was an uncommon rebuke from a White Home spokesman of Prime Minister Netanyahu, saying that it wasn’t true, stories that the U.S. officers had mentioned an annexation plan for the West Financial institution. What are you selecting up about that? I imply, is {that a} chance so far as you’re involved, each on the Israeli facet, and is it one thing the Individuals are prepared to contemplate?

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

Glasser: I’ve heard that tune.

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

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

Bennett: They’re not speaking to the Individuals; not speaking to the Israelis. They’ve kind of fell in love with being the sufferer, the everlasting sufferer, although there’s a lot great things that we will do collectively. As a result of I do need to say this, as essentially the most hawkish chief in Israel, I’m the primary one to say, , 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 bought to determine how can we dwell the subsequent 100 years side-by-side, as peacefully as attainable, 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 in regards to 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 legislation on that space. And I, the truth is, 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 legislation on the Israeli-controlled areas.

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

Bennett: Nicely, I feel that proper now they need to give an opportunity to the massive deal. You understand, the well-known deal.

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

Bennett: I don’t know.

Glasser: Individuals are skeptical.

Bennett: I don’t know. I imply, President Trump yesterday was requested, “What occurs if the Palestinians don’t come to the desk?” He gave a quite simple reply. He mentioned, “Nicely, there received’t be peace.” I discovered {that a} very attention-grabbing reply. That’s appropriate. You understand, 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 happening 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 may be launched.

Bennett: I don’t know. I don’t know. I feel it’s very elusive. America has two choices. Once you come out with a plan, you both coordinate it with either side prematurely, to a point, 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 troublesome as a result of the basic concern is that the minimal that they’d agree for, and the utmost that we’d be prepared to offer simply don’t coincide. And that’s been accompanying us for the previous 25 years.

However he has the opposite choice, the unilateral choice, to only say, “That is the deal and we need to hear your response.” And that will occur.

Glasser: So that you’re a politician, and naturally, one of many elements that can feed into this peace course of, to the extent there’s one, is the politics of it. And , 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 known 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 got been considerably important, whereas stopping in need of drawing any conclusions about these. You mentioned in a latest 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 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 beneath many alternative 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 amazing diploma of polarization in Israel, not in contrast to what we see right here within the States, to a point. And I don’t like that. I don’t like all that polarization. I feel now we have to—that is coming from the hawkish man, me—however I feel 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 suppose that it’s improper 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: Nicely, 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, , I’ll make that last choice, from my perspective, as a significant get together 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 happening with Iran.

Israel is completely 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 threat our folks.

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

Bennett: I help our police and our investigators, however I need to say there’s a rare quantity of vitality being invested in these investigations, virtually unprecedented. So I received’t say that there’s a witch hunt, however you may see there’s lots 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 attention-grabbing right here. What it’s doing is the next: to begin with, so far as I can see—and I see the prime minister many occasions per week, each within the cupboard and within the inside safety cupboard—and he’s functioning nicely. It’s really 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 improper motives infiltrating safety discussions.

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

Glasser: The “wag the canine” situation. We all the time consider that film.

Bennett: That’s appropriate. So completely not. In reality, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been recognized to be very cautious about utilizing pressure, and really cautious—take a look at throughout tenure, throughout his two phrases, we didn’t have a conflict. Nicely, we had the Gaza battle, that’s true.

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

Bennett: Yeah. Now, there’s an attention-grabbing dynamic within the public, although. Many within the public circle the wagons behind the prime minister, and do really feel that there’s a witch hunt. After which kind of a rallying behind him, and subsequently his help, the truth is, is rising on account of these—in Israel.

Glasser: You imply within the public polls?

Bennett: Within the public polls, yeah.

Glasser: Nicely, that’s led some folks to suppose 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 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 will probably be elections. I, by the way in which, suppose it will be a mistake. We’ve bought 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 dangerous for any state, any nation, to go on too frequent elections. We’d like stability.

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

Bennett: I feel so.

Glasser: —which have him surpassing that report. And but, this disaster across the investigation, wherever it leads, has actually led folks right into a dialog about what comes after Bibi. And you may’t say this, however I can, a number of persons are speaking about you as a future prime minister of Israel. Is that one thing that you simply, someday, 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 bought lots 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 feel he’s doing a good job. We’ve had our disagreements, et cetera, however I feel 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 change into the subsequent prime minister.

Glasser: Nicely, after Netanyahu, folks count on that there can be sort of a significant reorganization on the best. And also you alluded to a number of the challenges that you’ve got. One in all them, as I perceive it, is that your get together, Jewish Dwelling, which is a member of the prime minister’s coalition, has lots of extraordinarily conservative figures in its base, who is perhaps a problem for you as you face a normal voters in Israel.

Bennett: That’s appropriate. I’ve a big job to revamp my get together; to open it up. You understand, traditionally, my get together was the get together of Orthodox Jews, fashionable Orthodox Jews, in Israel. And I got here, and I mentioned, “No, that’s not our mission.” I used to be kind of a no person. Nobody knew who I’m.

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

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

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

Bennett: No, I used to be lucky. In reality, they had been the extremely left-wingers. My grandfather, I feel, 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 army; based a startup firm, bought it, after which had the Second Lebanon Conflict. I used to be known as into command troops behind enemy traces within the Second Lebanon Conflict, and that modified my life.

I made a decision to go away the high-tech enviornment, which I’m nonetheless very keen about, and to hitch Netanyahu as his chief of employees for a few years, in ’06. And I extremely respect Netanyahu, however we do have variations in opinion. And yeah, my get together then was a contemporary Orthodox get together. And I mentioned, “No, no, no. We need to open it up for all Israelis.” I known as it the “Jewish Dwelling,” versus the “Orthodox Dwelling;” introduced in secular folks. And it’s extra open, however not open sufficient.

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

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

Bennett: Nicely, I feel after Netanyahu—I’m not urgent him to go, as I mentioned, and he’s doing job. I feel we would want a giant bang in the best facet, 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 might have caucuses, you might have completely different flavors inside every get together. I feel that may 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 international locations in the entire world the place views of President Trump are extra favorable than views of Barack Obama? And what do you suppose the long-term implications are for 2 international locations which were very shut, however the place there’s now a partisan taste to that alliance?

Bennett: That’s a really salient level. Israel shouldn’t be a partisan concern. It must be bipartisan. And I need to clarify this, why, after which kind of play into your query. The truth that we’re there, the truth that we’re a free, open, very debating society. You understand, it’s Jews for heaven’s sake, so all of us argue all day. It’s a gorgeous democracy within the coronary heart of the hardest place on Earth. You understand, we’ve bought Syria, ISIS, and Hezbollah on our borders.

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

Glasser: However now we have been sending tools.

Bennett: Gear, that’s proper.

Glasser: We have now been sending cash.

Bennett: Yeah, but it surely’s manner cheaper than when you’d need to—cheaper in lives and cheaper in value. And we’re doing good for the world in so many points. 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 state of affairs. We have now to have a look at our safety as paramount. And that’s our prime 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 not being an sincere dealer? I imply, there’s a threat, isn’t there, in aligning his pursuits so carefully 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 downside, 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 reality, traditionally, —

Glasser: No, it’s a giant 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: Nicely, it was very quick. When he got here to Israel, I shook his hand, and I mentioned, “Mr. President, this wasn’t within the playing cards. You may go down in historical past as the primary man who acknowledged Jerusalem because the Jewish capital.” And he mentioned, “Oh, that’s an thought.” This was on his go to again then. I don’t know him nicely. I converse to a few of his of us on an ongoing foundation. They’re very educated about Israel.

Glasser: Have you ever talked with Jared Kushner?

Bennett: I don’t need to go into the names. I’ve spoken to a lot of his folks. Very educated of Israel, very constructive about Israel, which I feel 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 feel that is smart.

Glasser: Would you evaluate 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 folks. And in historical past, there’s a number of well-known declarations. Certainly, King Cyrus declared that the Jews can come again and dwell within the State of Israel. This was nicely over 2,000 years in the past. I’d say 2,500 years about. Balfour, about 100 years in the past, declared Israel because the Jewish dwelling. This can be a main declaration that can 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 whenever 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 it is a unusual factor as a result of we’re political rivals. I don’t know in case your listeners perceive, in Israel, I compete with Netanyahu. In the course of the elections, it’s a zero-sum recreation. You vote for him or for me. But, I feel for the great of Israel, I might not need to see Netanyahu step down due to—, for prison investigation causes. I need free elections.

Then again, 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 frontrunner proper now?

Bennett: Nicely, I feel two parts. Israelis need somebody who can run the nation nicely. I additionally suppose that it’s time for somebody who can pose an instance on the values and the way in which we conduct ourselves. And that was what I used to be alluding to after I mentioned that on an ethical foundation, , folks ought to not take presents. However finally, that’s the choice of the voters. So I might need to be a frontrunner by instance, and in addition to run the nation nicely. It’s two various things.

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

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

Bennett: No. After I mentioned 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 understand, we had Menachem Start and David Ben-Gurion, who went all the way down to the desert, to dwell within the desert for instance so younger folks will comply with him. I’m unsure that’s a giant concern. I’m unsure that younger folks 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 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, not less than in Israel, we’re experiencing the best numbers of volunteering. You understand, 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, to be able to volunteer one other 12 months in agriculture; in serving to folks in low socioeconomic areas. Superb.

So I’m very optimistic about our future. However 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, 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 International POLITICO. Subscribe to The International POLITICO on Apple Podcasts here. Subscribe by way of Stitcher here.