Bennett: Leftists Live in the Nineties

In his first public speech since the conclusion of Operation Protective Edge, Naftali Bennett sharply criticized the Israeli left.

Yaakov Levi,

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett
Flash 90

In his first public speech since the conclusion of Operation Protective Edge, Economics Minister and Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett sharply criticized the Israeli left, accusing them of having outmoded world views that they have refused to update.

“I cannot believe the things I hear from supporters of the left,” said Bennett. “They speak as if I am still in the 1990s,” when Israel spun off large chunks of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza to the control of the Palestinian Authority.

“But it's the left that is stuck in the 90s, not me,” he said at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center Monday.

“They are like people sitting on the beach as a tsunami approaches,” Bennett said. “They ignore the tsunami and concentrate only on their little aquarium.”

The idea of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria is simply a non-starter for Israel, Bennett said. Those who still believed in it after the war in Gaza, during which Hamas was able to significantly interrupt daily Israeli life even from the far south, indicated what would happen if Hamas and other terror groups could do as they pleased in Judea and Samaria.

“Six months ago I said that a Palestinian state would destroy the Israeli economy, and they laughed at me,” Bennett said. “But after Hamas managed to close down flights coming into Israel by targeting Ben Gurion Airport, my colleagues have stopped laughing. Does the left really believe we can trust the PA with the hills overlooking the center of the country? All it would take is one missile to ruin our economy,” Bennett said.

Besides the terror of Hamas and Fatah, said Bennett, a Palestinian state would advance the terror of ISIS and similar Islamist groups. “Israel needs to be a lighthouse in the storm that surrounds us,” said Bennett.

“With our solid base in a strong state, a strong economy, and 4,000 years of tradition, we must export this light abroad. We in the Economics Ministry are doing these things, exporting Israeli water technology and other positive things to India and China, as well as medical technology to the entire world. This is our vision.” 

A poll last week by the Knesset channel found that 39% of respondents saw Bennett as leader of the "right-wing" in Israel, giving him the edge over Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Coming in second, Netanyahu got 28% support, while 20% picked Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman as their right-wing leader of choice.




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