Skip to main content

The Political Decline Of Naftali Bennett

Israeli Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett’s desire to serve the interest of the general public, beyond his commitment to right-wing voters, is taking a significant toll on his political stature.
Israel's President Shimon Peres (R) meets head of the Bayit Yehudi party Naftali Bennett at Peres' residence in Jerusalem January 31, 2013. Peres began talks with political parties on Wednesday over who should form a new government and appears certain to ask incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to assemble it. REUTERS/Sebastian Scheiner/Pool (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS) - RTR3D6TK
Read in 

The stirring speech by the chairman of HaBayit HaYehudi, Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, succeeded in convincing only some of the participants at the large, right-wing conference on Oct. 2. Upon leaving the hall at the National Convention Center in Jerusalem, Bennett was assailed by a group of young people chanting “Traitor!” and “You’re disgusting! What about the Land of Israel?” It was a very disappointing moment for someone who had just stood on stage a few moments earlier and noted what he had said about the settlements in an interview with Al Jazeera: “A nation cannot be a conqueror in its own land.”

At the “One State for One People” conference, Bennett reiterated one motif throughout his speech: The Jewish people have a right to the Land of Israel. The event was intended to apply pressure to the government to put a stop to negotiations with the Palestinians. This contrarian message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who decided to renew the peace process, caused Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz and Minister of Agriculture Yair Shamir, both from Likud-Beiteinu, to withdraw from the conference at the last minute, despite promises to attend.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.