Naftali Bennett is the ‘spitting image’ of Netanyahu, Rosenberg says
ALL ISRAEL NEWS Editor-in-Chief Joel C. Rosenberg discusses the appointment of Bennett as Israel’s new prime minister with David Brody on Real America News
With Benjamin Netanyahu (Bibi) no longer serving as prime minister of Israel after 12 consecutive years in the position, his protégé – 49-year old Naftali Bennett – assumes the role, having been selected by the Israeli Knesset in a close 61- vs. 59-seat majority vote in favor of the new coalition.
Joel Rosenberg, editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS, spoke with David Brody, host of The Water Cooler on Real America News, last week to discuss initial reactions and the challenges that lie ahead for Bennett as Israel’s new prime minister.
Rosenberg provided background about Bennett, mentioning his military experience as a former Elite Special Forces commando, his achievements in the business arena and his political career under Netanyahu.
“Bennett is a tremendously successful entrepreneur,” Rosenberg said. “Sold one company for $145 million, another company for $130 million – very successful. And then he entered politics with Netanyahu; was his chief of staff, went on to become the education minister, the economy minister and then the defense minister.”
Even with these credentials, Rosenberg said, it is hard to make a comparison with Netanyahu.
“Netanyahu is a global statesman, you know. And so, the drop from skillset, no matter who it is, this is not being critical of Naftali Bennett,” Rosenberg said. “So it's a huge challenge, not just to lead Israel at a time like this: Iran threats, all kinds of problems in the region, terror, Gaza wars, but also when you have no margin for error in your parliament.”
When asked by Brody what Bennett’s appointment as prime minister means for Israel and America, Rosenberg described Bennett as “a spitting image of Benjamin Netanyahu.”
“He is literally the protégé. Netanyahu was the mentor. They had a falling out – a very bitter falling out. And now Netanyahu is attacking Bennett as a liar and a fraud and all kinds of terrible things, but it’s because the protégé has just done a Shakespearean move, has taken over the role of the master,” Rosenberg stated.
“But on policy,” Rosenberg added, “it's a 100% match to Netanyahu.”
Rosenberg said that the Iran deal will be one of Bennett's biggest challenges, because of the U.S.-Israel relations. Like Netanyahu, Bennett is strongly opposed to the U.S. renewing the Iran nuclear deal.
“It’s not just, can he [Bennett] handle the military threat from Iran,” Rosenberg said. “He is a former commando. He was the defense minister and he's got a great team around him.”
“But what if Bennett has to challenge Joe Biden the way Netanyahu had to challenge Biden's predecessor, Barack Obama?” Rosenberg speculated. “That's going to be challenging, right? Because Bennett and his team say they want it to be warm as best they can with Washington. They want to reset U.S.-Israeli relations … they need to strengthen the pro-Israel forces on the democratic side.”
Brody asked Rosenberg on how Evangelical Christians are responding to Netanyahu’s departure and Bennett’s arrival as the new prime minister, citing an ALL ISRAEL NEWS article, “Major Evangelical leaders congratulate, and vow to pray for, new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, while also thanking Netanyahu for his extraordinary accomplishments.”
“Nobody courted and cultivated Evangelical Christian support more than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And therefore – not only because of policy, but because of personal relationships – he was trusted and he was beloved. And that remains.”
While Rosenberg says Evangelicals support Bennett and the new government unequivocally, he also believes we haven’t seen the last of Bibi yet.
“If this government were to fall apart – and it would take one person, one member of the coalition saying I'm out for whatever reason or getting sick or going on vacation … you call a no confidence motion – the whole thing comes down and we go to a fifth election,” he said. “And that's what Netanyahu is hoping for.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.