Naftali Bennett

Naftali Bennett is an Israeli politician who served as Minister of Diaspora Affairs from 2013 to 2019 and as Minister of Defense from 2019 to 2020. Bennett has led the New Right party since 2018, having previously led The Jewish Home party between 2012 and 2018. Aged 49, he was born in Haifa, Israel, to American Jewish immigrants. He spent some time in the United States as a child and like Netanyahu speaks fluent, U.S.-accented English. He is a modern-Orthodox religious Jew. If he becomes prime minister, Bennett would be Israel’s first religious head of government. He currently lives in the affluent city of Raanana, a suburb of Tel Aviv, with his wife and four children.

After 15 years in office and a run of four deadlocked elections, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, could be unseated by a coalition of opposition parties, united by little beyond the desire to replace him. Though still to be confirmed by Israel’s parliament, the deal on the table would make a former Netanyahu protege, Naftali Bennett, Israel’s next prime minister — at least for a fixed time, according to the terms of the bargain taking shape, before handing off to Yair Lapid, a centrist politician.

Though Bennett’s party trailed far behind both Netanyahu and Lapid’s in the last election, a rising push to oust Netanyahu in divergent quarters, amid political deadlock, has allowed him to emerge as a key power broker.

Naftali Bennett Bio

Name: Naftali Bennett
Born: 25 March 1972 (age 49 years), Haifa, Israel
Spouse: Gilat Bennett (m. 1999)
Party: New Right
Education: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Previous offices: Defense Minister of Israel (2019–2020), MORE
Parents: Jim Bennett, Myrna Bennett

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