A start-up millionaire completely changed his life’s course after fighting in Lebanon in 2006; Naftali Bennett talks about how the war pushed him into politics.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett may be the most outspoken minister in the security cabinet. He doesn’t reveal what’s said behind closed doors, but he’s often the only minister to publicly make his opinions known about what’s being discussed and his tactical suggestions of what Israel should do, as he did last weekend, releasing a 10-point plan to curb the current wave of terrorism.
Bennett has faced criticism for his outspokenness about strategy and has even delineated specific points citing what he thinks the army and government should do. He has also spoken to soldiers and officers on his own initiative, but he’s convinced from his experiences that his way is the right way. He’s willing to threaten the coalition over it, like he did in late May, refusing to have his Bayit Yehudi party vote to approve Avigdor Liberman as defense minister until security cabinet ministers were given more regular updates from the National Security Council.
The way Bennett sees it, being informed and voicing opinions that could rattle the military brass or his fellow politicians is the only way to make sure the right decisions are being made for the country and that the people sitting in the security cabinet room don’t fall victim to groupthink. It’s the only way that the failings of the Second Lebanon War, in which he and the soldiers that he commanded saw firsthand the damage an ineffective security cabinet can cause, won’t happen again.
When the Second Lebanon War broke out, politics was the furthest thing from Bennett’s mind, but the war was the turning point that put him on his current trajectory. Continue reading