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Is Israel ready for a religious prime minister?

Israel never had a religious prime minister, but popular Yamina leader Naftali Bennett is adamant in trying to get hold of the job.
Israeli Economy Minister and head of the far-right Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett gestures as he gives a speech during a debate on economy on March 11, 2015 in the costal Israeli city of Tel Aviv. Six days before Israel votes in a snap general election, the centre-left Zionist Union opened a lead of several points over the ruling rightwing Likud party, a poll showed. Bennett, 42, is a champion of the settler movement and a key challenger of Netanyahu to head Israel's rightwing.    AFP PHOTO / GIL COHEN-

Yamina leader Naftali Bennett’s story is the story of Israeli politics: a breathtaking rollercoaster ride with steep inclines and wild plunges, chronic manic depression, a humiliating political burial and a stupefying comeback against all the odds. Bennett, exiled from the Knesset in the April 2019 elections when his right-wing party failed to garner sufficient votes to cross the electoral threshold, is the official, refreshing flavor of summer 2020 in Israeli politics. Just over a year after being pronounced politically dead on arrival, Bennett is now declaring his intent to run for prime minister in the next elections.

Bennett’s incredible transformation can be attributed to his performance on the opposition benches and during a brief stint as defense minister, a post to which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed him in November 2019 to prevent him from crossing the lines to the rival Blue and White party. Bennett identified the opportunity and milked it for all it was worth. He was an energetic, proactive defense chief, mobilizing the military for the fight against the coronavirus, and perhaps the only Israeli politician for whom the coronavirus pandemic could not have come at a more opportune moment.

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