Naftali Bennett Tells Off CNN on Live TV

by Phil Schneider

Bibi Netanyahu is certainly the #1 spokesman for the State of Israel. But Naftali Bennett is probably #2. He learned how and when to be combative from Netanyahu, but also a thing or two from Donald Trump. The main thing that he does is engage, and he does it well. He knows that CNN is not a growing network, but it still has tens of millions of viewers watching him when he broadcasts the obvious – Israel must defend itself no matter what the Biden administration and the “rest of the world” say. That is the definition of sovereignty. Israel is an ally of the superpower called the United States. It is not a vassal that must cower and bow it’s head at idiotic policies by an over-the-hill President.   

Several years ago, Naftali Bennett surprised nearly everybody in Israeli politics when he came away as the Prime Minister of Israel. His party did not have a sweeping win, and Netanyahu’s Likud party did not even have a bad election. The problem was that Netanyahu struggled to put together the 61 member coalition necessary in order to cobble together a government. 

Bennett was willing to settle on core promises and beliefs and was able to become Prime Minister, despite having far less than 10 seats in his 61 seat coalition. But his tenure as Prime Minister was more consequential than many think. Bank deregulation laws will probably help boost Israel’s economy much in the same way that Netanyahu’s economic policies freed up the high-tech sector to freely grow and prosper. Bennett also displayed sufficient leadership to prove that Israel can indeed exist without Netanyahu at the helm.

Bennett claimed that the majority of middle Israel was not interested in pulling the government too hard to the right or too hard to the left. He claimed he was the right winger who would prove that right and left, religious and secular, could work together. He claimed he was the savior who brought Israel out of stagnation from not having a working government.  Indeed, there is some truth to his arguments.

But in actuality, Bennett caved in to the leftwing on very basic issues that have always been red lines for the vast majority of the Israeli electorate. Arab parties never were considered legitimate members of the Israeli government. There was a precedent for what Bennett agreed to, but a weak precedent. Additionally, Bennett gave the hard left much power too, which allowed them to enact anti-religious legislation. Most of Israel is either religious or traditional, but certainly not anti-religious. Bennett left politics altogether as he alienated his already small core base. He preferred to leave as a Prime Minister, not as a political loser. Now he is working to resurrect his political reputation and plans for a comeback. 

Actually, Bennett was the great uniter of anti-Netanyahu forces more than he was the great uniter of the State of Israel. He will continue to be a great force when he returns to the political stage. But he will be well served if he decides to modify his red lines to reflect true Jewish values and the will of the Israeli electorate.      

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