Economics Minister and Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett on Monday spoke to students at the Beit Yisrael pre-military academy, asking them to serve their country throughout their lives, not just when they do their military service. “You should not reach a level where you cut yourself off from helping and caring about others,” he said.
Bennett told the students why he decided to go into public life himself. “It was the Second Lebanon War,” fought by Israel against Hezbollah in 2006, said Bennett. “I fought a great deal in Lebanon, but I saw things that frightened me during that war. We did not succeed in the war – the truth must be told. I was shocked at what I saw – I felt there was a lack in the fighting spirit among soldiers.”
Bennett called on the students to connect themselves to the spirit of Zionism and Jewish values. “During the war, half of the IDF's soldiers had never visited the Kotel. How can you fight for a country that you are not commuted to? I took on this issue as a life mission. I want to restore Judaism and Zionism to as many people as possible,” he said.
Later in the day, Bennett met with Bar-Mitzvah students in Ra'anana, explaining to them what his job was. “Some people think that life was unfair to them because they were born into a certain family or were born with a certain kind of skin,” he said. “But only one thing really counts in life – how hard we try to succeed. As Jews, you have a responsibility that is 4,000 years old. We must contribute to the country, do well in school, and become good citizens and good Jews.”