Palestinians would have a different take, of course. They argue the Palestinian Authority was never allowed by Israel to grow into an independent state, and has additionally has squeezed by encroaching settlements.
But what about the future?
According to Bennett, there are two principles that should guide Israeli policy moving forward: “One is Israel’s security, and the second is [that] we don’t want to govern the Palestinians,” he explained. “The two-state solution doesn’t satisfy the first, and if we’ve learned anything, it’s that we can’t trust the Palestinians. We’re not in the business of national suicide.”
Bennett had announced his retirement from politics in 2022, but he’s now clearly poised to reenter the arena. “When I finished in government, my wife and I planned I would stay out of politics for about a decade … But Israel is in another huge crisis and that’s a different situation, and I will always come to Israel’s aid … I’ll do whatever is necessary to get us out of this hole,” he said.
And according to a recent poll by Israel’s Channel 13, a Bennett-led right-wing party could do very well, winning as many as 19 seats in an upcoming election. It would dramatically recast the political map, placing him in a good position to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The poll also found the centrist National Unity Party of former Defense Minister Benny Gantz would likely secure 22 seats — up from 12 in 2022 — while both Netanyahu’s Likud and Yair Lapid’s centrist-liberal Yesh Atid party would flounder.
Interestingly, Bennett has labeled himself as “more right-wing than Netanyahu,” but he also has a pragmatic streak. And along with Gantz and former army commander Gadi Eisenkot, he’s among the most mentioned names in behind-the-scenes conversations about replacing Netanyahu.
“Eisenkot is a good man, but he’s very quiet. He’s not a talker; he’s an operator,” said Yaakov Peri, a former head of the Israeli security agency Shin Bet. “But to be a prime minister, you must speak, you must talk, you must socialize. Gantz could do the job, but he’s not strong enough. Bennett could be perfect,” he said.
And that, of course, would not please Gideon Levy.