As former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was replaced by the new Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, we can’t help but contemplate, what does this mean for the region? For the Palestinians? The Israeli Knesset voted in Bennett last Sunday evening, and although time will tell of how he intends to lead, including his modus operandi, we’ve gathered you for 10 things that we know about Israel’s new Prime Minister, for now.
Opposes Palestinian statehood
Bennett has made his stance on Palestinian statehood utterly clear, and does not whisper about it either. As a far-right ultranationalist, the new Prime Minister has repeatedly stated that he opposes any self-determination for Palestinians.
Born to American parents
In 1967, Bennett’s parents immigrated from San Francisco, USA, to Israel, in the wake of the Six Day War. Born in Haifa in March 1972, Bennett is the youngest of three children.
Shoot to kill policy
In 2018, Bennett stated the following: “They are not children — they are terrorists. We are fooling ourselves. I see the photos,” in regards to a question asked of whether or not he would order soldiers to shoot Palestinian children walking on the boundary between Israel and Gaza.
Leave no one alive
This quote undoubtedly is one of the most infamous ones by the Prime Minister. “If we capture terrorists, we need to just kill them. I’ve already killed a lot of Arabs in my life – and there is no problem with that.” The context surrounding this matter was Bennett speaking in a cabinet meeting where the matter of releasing Palestinian prisoners was being discussed. Afterwards, a spokesperson stated, in regards to Bennett’s controversial statement, that he was referring to Israeli soldiers receiving a command to kill Palestinians rather than capturing or imprisoning them.
Supports the death penalty
As of now, Adolf Eichmann, the primary Nazi architect behind the Holocaust, has been the only man in Israel who has received the death penalty. However, Bennett has made it clear that he intends on implementing the death penalty for Palestinian militants specifically.
In 1996, Bennett left the military service, and three years later, went on to found Cyota, a technology company that eventually sold for a total of $145 million. He was 27 at the time.
An old friend of Benjamin Netanyahu
In 2006, at the wake of the Lebanon war, Bennett served as the top political aide to Netanyahu, as well as leading Netanyahu’s race in leading the Likud party. However, in 2008, they had a falling out, and in 2010, both found themselves at opposite sides throughout a political fight.
Served in the commando unit
Naftali Bennett was 18 years old when he volunteered to serve in the IDF’s elite commando unit, Sayeret Matkal, which lasted for six years, then eventually went on to study law and business at the Hebrew University.
Supports more Israeli Settlements
Bennett is a hardliner regarding national security, and continues to vouch for an increase in Israeli settlements within the West Bank. Last Sunday, he stated he intends to “strengthen the settlements throughout the Land of Israel,” although these settlements go against international law.
First Israeli leader to wear a kippa
Although not necessarily a religiously devout man, Naftali Bennett will be the first Israeli leader ever to be wearing the kippa, the skullcap worn by practicing Jews.