Forward Thinking

For Bibi, Two Setbacks on Tuesday

By Nathan Jeffay

  • Print
  • Share Share

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reeling from not one but two disappointments on Tuesday. It is widely believed that he was desperate for Mitt Romney to win the American presidential election. But he also had an eye on another election at home.

The main religious-Zionist party Jewish Home was holding its primaries to choose a new leader, and the winner was none other than his former right-hand man who he wanted to lose.

High tech millionaire Naftali Bennett became Netanyahu’s chief of staff from 2006, and was responsible for the campaign that got him elected as Likud leader. But the two didn’t see eye to eye, and in 2008 Bennett left. Bibi was so keen for him not to be elected that his wife Sara Netanyahu was reportedly canvassing against him.

So what is it that made Netanyahu want one of Bennett’s rival primary candidates to lead Jewish Home? It’s not a subject he’s discussed but one can suppose that it’s in large part the very same things he liked about Bennett back in 2006.

He is extremely successful. In 1999, Bennett — who is profiled in this Forward article — co-founded Cyota, a company that develops anti-fraud software and became its CEO. He sold the company in 2005 to U.S.-based RSA Security for $145 million. It was shortly afterwards that he joined Bibi, and impressed him with his brains and charisma.

Now, he’s bringing all of that to a party that took a battering in the last election and is raring for a comeback. It’s a vigorously pro-settler party to the right of Likud but Bennett, who lives not in a settlement but in Ranaana, is politically astute, and sports a clean-shaven face and just a small yarmulke on his head looks nothing like a stereotypical settler, is well placed to make inroads among Likud’s supporters.

“We have already enlisted many Likud voters from around the country,” he told local media. — and he’s probably telling the truth.

Bottom line: Expect serious overtures from Bibi to religious-Zionist voters during this election campaign.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: benjamin netanyahu, election, israel, jewish home

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.