Former Defense Minister and Yamina Party Chairman Naftali Bennett today arrived for the first interview in Arutz Sheva's new Jerusalem studio, and refuted allegations that he left aside the important issues for the national camp to deal with the livelihood of Israeli citizens.
At the outset, MK Bennett said: “Our main message is that it's time to get Israel out of this model; we have to be very focused, change leadership. I think we have to thank Netanyahu for many years of contribution - 32 years - but it's time for a new, national leadership of our values. So that's what we're heading towards.”
So in your campaign you've been focusing on the fight against COVID, and some people would say that you've neglected the Right-wing values. What would you tell them?
“Quite the contrary. We're fighting for jobs, for parnassa, for people making a living, and there's nothing more noble than a leader that takes care of his people. And there's no contradiction between Eretz Yisrael, and parnassa - and making a living. That's human dignity.”
“I think that we have to focus on getting bread back to people, because we're a disaster here, while at the same time strengthening Eretz Yisrael… and strengthening Israel's Jewish values. We're not giving up one millimeter of our values.”
You've been saying like in your elections that the way the government has been handling the fight against COVID wasn't sufficient enough. What would you have done differently?
“Pretty much everything. Israel is number 180 from the worst, right? I mean there's 180 countries were less people died than in Israel per capita. Israel was pretty much shut down for the almost entire year. I presented a plan back in March, a very detailed plan, but effectively the bottom line is to manage the country with competence. The degree of gross incompetence, like right now, where tens of thousands of Israelis are stuck around the world, and their own country shut down the gates. That's unacceptable. All you need to do is test. All you need to do is work out and be very competent. So we're going to create a very powerful and stable, competent government and start fixing Israel.”
So what are your plans for the day after elections?
“My plans are to form a stable government with the Zionist parties. Unbelievably, there's - even in the Labor Party - there's a woman who’s against Israel as a Jewish country. It's unbelievable that in Ben Gurion’s party. But with the pro-Israel parties in Israel - form a good, strong national government that'll take care of getting jobs, take care of the strengthening Eretz Yisrel, we need to take care of the judicial system which is tilted, and then it's going to work, it's going to work well, and strengthen Jewish identity here in Israel.”
Speaking about Jewish identity, what is your message to the Jews in Diaspora?
“Well, you know, I'm well connected to brothers and sisters in the Diaspora. We care about you, we know you're there for us and we're there for you. It's called arvut hadadit, mutual responsibility, and that will never change. I hope quickly after this these elections, we’ll form a powerful government and get working.”