Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home Party (file photo)
Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:28PM GMT
Israel’s January 22 legislative election is pitting a new figure affiliated with the right-wing Zionist Orthodox against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Naftali Bennett, a young politician from the religious far-right camp, has attracted attention.
Netanyahu has lost votes in favor of this candidate of the religious right-wing camp. Bennett leads Jewish Home Party, which has so far had only three seats in the Israeli parliament. But his rising popularity is likely to give him 12 to 14 seats in the Knesset.
Who is Naftali Bennett?
Political analysts say Bennett has given a fresh and modern image to his party. A large number of Israeli youth pin their hopes on Bennett, who has spoken of Jewish Spring in his election campaigning tours.
Bennett recently said, “Our priority is to resolve the problems inside Israel.”
He is opposed to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
Bennett believes that Israel should annex the so-called Area C to its territory. This area makes nearly 60 percent of the West Bank.
The public mood in Israel is not optimistic. A pessimistic atmosphere specifically dominates protestors who organized “Summer of Protest” in Tel Aviv center two years ago.
Bennett revealed recently that he and Netanyahu’s wife were in “a terrorism class together.”
Bennett was Netanyahu’s bureau chief and ran his campaign for the Likud Party leadership in 2007. However, he later resigned from his position after quarreling with Netanyahu’s wife.