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Bennett lays groundwork for premiership

Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, not content with controlling HaBayit HaYehudi, has launched a plan to attract more voters and ultimately occupy the prime minister's office.
Naftali Bennett (C), smiles during a Jewish Home party meeting, at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem March 4, 2013. A surprise alliance between Israeli political stars, far-right Bennett, and centrist Yair Lapid, who reject privileges for ultra-orthodox Jews is frustrating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's efforts to form a new government. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3EKA2
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Naftali Bennett made a Sept. 10 appearance on the stage of Tel Aviv University’s Smolarz Auditorium. Behind him were giant screens primarily projecting photographs of himself and video clips of his interviews with foreign media, making him appear more like a chief executive officer at the launch of his large hi-tech firm than the chairman of a national-religious right-wing party.

It was no coincidence that Israel's economy and trade minister had decided to hold HaBayit HaYehudi’s convention at Tel Aviv University, a secular, left-wing bastion. Bennett wanted to send a message: In upcoming national elections, he will be targeting the broader public. Beyond that, he wanted to create an impression of victory and of plenty, as befitting a large, strong party. Bennett therefore made sure to hire opulent, expensive catering to provide massive quantities never before seen at a political party event, and certainly not for a party like Mafdal-HaBayit HaYehudi, which until just two years ago was on the verge of disappearing from the political map.

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