Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke with CNN's Fareed Zakaria regarding the decision to attack the Iranian consulate in Damascus.

“Iran is an octopus of terror. Its head is in Tehran, and then it sends its tentacles all around Israel and the Middle East. In Lebanon they have Hezbollah, in Gaza they have Islamic Jihad and Hamas, they have the Houthis, and they've been pounding Israel using their arms while their head was sort of immune. The age of immunity for Iran's head is over. It doesn't make sense to keep on fighting just these arms while letting Iran itself get away.’’

Bennett did not believe the attack would bring any further escalation to the region. ‘’Iran is already at war against Israel, as of October 7th, but they've not been on the receiving side. This sort of move is the right approach, but needs to be done in a persistent way, because it turns out that Iranian leadership does not want to pay for itself. They send their proxies, but when it's Iranian lives at stake, suddenly they become much more timid. Even Hezbollah has been fairly cautious - Nasrallah wished Hamas well but it was clear he was not going to help them in any way. He understands that if he were to enter war on behalf of Iran against Israel the people who would pay the price are the Lebanese. He would become the destroyer of Lebanon if he were to go to war with Israel.”

He discussed the differences of opinion as to how to conduct the war. ‘’I presented an alternative strategy, but once the government of Israel adopted its strategy I stand behind it. At this point there are basically two options - flush out Hamas or have the citizens of Rafah leave. Both options can make sense, and both are tough.’’

Bennett also addressed the claims that Prime Minister Netanyahu is prolonging the war intentionally. “The war takes time, for the very fundamental reason that we have thousands of Hamas terrorists embedded with civilians and because we're not cavalier about civilian lives. We have to be very selective and very cautious and slow, and it takes much more time. We have a huge undertaking of dismantling the underground tunnel operation that Hamas built for twenty years. I do think that we need to speed things up - we don't have an unlimited clock out there. I would move much quicker on the various phases. I think that the decisions are being made for the right reasons, even if I disagree with one or two, but the ultimate goal is still to defeat Hamas.’’

Referring to his own strategy for the war, Bennett commented: “I'm not sure my strategy was better. I understand people keep saying ‘destroy Hamas’, but ultimately it is the idea of armed resistance. Nazism was an idea, and once you eradicate the regime and there's no territory where that regime controls then it can fade away. Unfortunately, I have to say that a vast majority of Gazan citizens support those attacks. This is not to say that we're going to try and target citizens, but it means to either kill the combatants or to capture them and then move them out to Qatar or something. I could envision thousands of of these terrorists getting on a ship, going to Qatar, and that would spell the end of the war.”

He disagreed with the claim that Israel would have to reoccupy Gaza after the war was over: “I think the key to success is to take away the hope of Hamas resurgence, then there is a process of deradicalization, which means that we'll need the education and media in Gaza will stop teaching the little children in Gaza that the Jews are the Satan and pigs. These Palestinians are not going anywhere, which all the more means that we have to get the job done.”

He did not deny plans to run for office again: “I had planned on a decade off from politics after my decade in politics, but my country is not in great shape right now.”