Ted Belman: Let’s hope.The Min of Defense is in charge of managing Judea and Samaria through COGAT. Just as Yaalon, as Min of Defense, had the ability to let the EU back building by Arabs in area C, Bennett in the same position will be able to greatly affect Israel’s policies there.
Analysis: only one politician has an interest in these elections, and his fingerprints are all over it. Enter the next defense minister.
By Gil Ronen, INN
Only one politician stands to gain from these very early national elections, and his fingerprints are all over it. His name is Naftali Bennett, and he is proving to be the smartest and most dynamic player in the Israeli political system at this time.
Bennett stands to gain because, according to every single poll, his party is the only one that can be expected to grow by 50% or more in the ballots. Presently, Jewish Home has 12 MKs. The polls predict 17, 19, maybe more. These numbers are commensurate with those Bennett had in the polls in late 2012, before an extremely hurtful – and self-injuring – Likud election campaign reduced his public support.
Bennett is now the likely candidate for minister of defense, come April. Since defense is Bennett’s forte – although finances are certainly not a point of weakness for the all-Israeli hi-tech superstar economics minister – this is without a doubt the position he is angling for. The public is not ready for Bennett as prime minister, and people close to him, like Minister Uri Orbach, say so too. But a successful and dominant defense minister who brings security back to the Israeli streets, and possibly spearheads a strike on Iran’s nuclear industry, later in his term, is a shoo-in to replace Binyamin Netanyahu at the country’s helm, when the time comes.
Leaks from Netanyahu and Bennett’s immediate surroundings confirm that Bennett has been talking to Netanyahu about the position of defense minister, post-elections, and that Netanyahu has come to accept that Bennett will be his most senior partner in the next government. Bennett confirmed as much – most likely intentionally – when he scolded Minister Uri Ariel the other day, and told him that his insistence on taking up more space on the Jewish Home list than Bennett is willing to give him will cost the party the defense minister’s position.
The Yisrael Hayom bill
When analyzing what led Netanyahu to confront rogue ministers Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni in a way that made these elections inevitable, many point to the “Yisrael Hayom bill” as psychological point of no return. Netanyahu, the manwho has withstood thousands of backstabbing knives and poisoned political barbs without wincing, was apparently truly hurt by the bill. He could be seen muttering to himself, “shame, shame,” as the bill passed on the Knesset floor, in the preliminary reading. The possibility that the bill would turn into law was a nightmare to him, it seems – since after all, Yisrael Hayom has provided him with …read more