He’s a spiritual Jew who made tens of millions within the largely secular high-tech sector; a champion of the settlement motion who lives in a Tel Aviv suburb, and a former ally of Benjamin Netanyahu who has partnered with centrist and left-wing events to finish his 12-year rule.
His ultranationalist Yamina celebration gained simply seven seats within the 120-member Knesset in March elections — the fourth such vote in two years. But by refusing to decide to Netanyahu or his opponents, Bennett positioned himself as kingmaker. Even after one member of his non secular nationalist celebration deserted him to protest the new coalition deal, he ended up with the crown.
Here’s a have a look at Israel’s new chief:
AN ULTRANATIONALIST WITH A MODERATE COALITION
Bennett has lengthy positioned himself to the best of Netanyahu. But he will probably be severely constrained by his unwieldy coalition, which has solely a slender majority in parliament and contains events from the best, left and middle.
He is against Palestinian independence and strongly helps Jewish settlements within the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians and far of the worldwide group see as a significant impediment to peace.
Bennett fiercely criticized Netanyahu after the prime minister agreed to sluggish settlement development below stress from then-President Obama, who tried and did not revive the peace course of early in his first time period.
He briefly served as head of the West Bank settler’s council, Yesha, earlier than getting into the Knesset in 2013. Bennett later served as Cabinet minister of diaspora affairs, training and protection in varied Netanyahu-led governments.
“He’s a right-wing leader, a security hard-liner, but at the same time very pragmatic,” stated Yohanan Plesner, head of the Israel Democracy Institute, who has recognized Bennett for many years and served with him within the navy.
He expects Bennett to have interaction with different factions to discover a “common denominator” as he seeks help and legitimacy as a nationwide chief.
RIVALRY WITH NETANYAHU
The 49-year-old father of 4 shares Netanyahu’s hawkish strategy to the Middle East battle, however the two have had tense relations through the years.
Bennett served as Netanyahu’s chief of workers for 2 years, however they parted methods after a mysterious falling out that Israeli media linked to Netanyahu’s spouse, Sara, who wields nice affect over her husband’s internal circle.
Bennett campaigned as a right-wing stalwart forward of the March elections and signed a pledge on nationwide TV saying he would by no means permit Yair Lapid, a centrist and Netanyahu’s foremost rival, to turn out to be prime minister.
But when it grew to become clear Netanyahu was unable to kind a ruling coalition, that is precisely what Bennett did, agreeing to function prime minister for 2 years earlier than handing energy to Lapid, the architect of the new coalition.
Netanyahu’s supporters have branded Bennett a traitor, saying he defrauded voters. Bennett has defended his resolution as a realistic transfer aimed toward unifying the nation and avoiding a fifth spherical of elections.
A GENERATIONAL SHIFT
Bennett, a contemporary Orthodox Jew, will probably be Israel’s first prime minister who frequently wears a kippa, the skullcap worn by observant Jews. He lives within the upscale Tel Aviv suburb of Raanana, fairly than within the settlements he champions.
Bennett started life together with his American-born dad and mom in Haifa, then bounced together with his household between North America and Israel, navy service, legislation faculty and the non-public sector. Throughout, he is curated a persona that is concurrently fashionable, non secular and nationalist.
After serving within the elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit, Bennett went to legislation faculty at Hebrew University. In 1999, he co-founded Cyota, an anti-fraud software program firm that was bought in 2005 to U.S.-based RSA Security for $145 million.
Bennett has stated the bitter expertise of Israel’s 2006 struggle in opposition to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah drove him to politics. The monthlong struggle ended inconclusively, and Israel’s navy and political management on the time have been broadly criticized as bungling the marketing campaign.
Bennett represents a 3rd era of Israeli leaders, after the founders of the state and Netanyahu’s era, which got here of age through the nation’s tense early years marked by repeated wars with Arab states.
“He’s Israel 3.0,” Anshel Pfeffer, a columnist for Israel’s left-leaning Haaretz newspaper, wrote in a current profile of Bennett.
“A Jewish nationalist but not really dogmatic. A bit religious, but certainly not devout. A military man who prefers the comforts of civilian urban life and a high-tech entrepreneur who isn’t looking to make any more millions. A supporter of the Greater Land of Israel but not a settler. And he may well not be a lifelong politician either.”