Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visited Washington this week, dropping in at the White House, meeting with national security adviser Jake Sullivan and top administration officials, and providing his assessments of political developments in Israel. Mostly, he listened, hearing grave concern that he was unable to allay.
Bennett’s visit took place on a difficult bilateral backdrop. The government that will soon assume power in Israel is shaping up as the most right-wing, radical, conservative and pyromaniacal ever. Friction with the Biden administration, bolstered by this week’s Democratic Georgia Senate win, will undoubtedly focus on Israeli policy in the West Bank, specifically the planned transfer of authority over its Palestinian population to designated hard-line Ministers Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich. Other irritants, not necessarily in that order, are the threat posed by these hard-liners to the Temple Mount status quo and human rights violations.