The global media is abuzz with commentators pronouncing an end of an era in Israel, where Benjamin Netanyahu was ousted from power by Naftali Bennett, once considered his protégé. However, in the floor test that happened in Israel’s parliament Knesset on Sunday, Naftali Bennett’s alliance got 60 votes and Benjamin Netanyahu’s secured 59. The speaker of the house belongs to Netanyahu’s Likud Party.
Netanyahu had been in power in Israel since 2009. Naftali Bennett served the successive Netanyahu governments as a minister until 2019 before they fell out. Naftali Bennett eyed the prime ministerial chair in Israel and considered Benjamin Netanyahu a “soft” leader.
Naftali Bennett is viewed as a hardliner and a far-right leader. He himself has declared to be “more right-wing” than Netanyahu, who was criticised throughout his tenure for pursuing aggressive right policies within Israel in general and with regard to the question of Palestine in particular.
In an interview with The Guardian in 2013, Naftali Bennett said, “There is not going to be a Palestinian state within the tiny land of Israel It’s just not going to happen. A Palestinian state would be a disaster for the next 200 years.”
Naftali Bennett has been vocal about his idea of a Jewish state that expands the boundaries of Israel to include the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights — that is, the territories Israel occupied after the 1967 war.
In May this year, while Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire deal, Naftali Bennett accused the Palestinian outfit of murdering Israeli citizens.
Naftali Bennett is a marked departure from Netanyahu in his communication. He is fluent in English and loves to address TV media. He has been often seen in a combative mood appearing on international English TV news channels defending Israel’s aggressive policies towards the Palestine question.