Naftali Bennett can save his political future, even remain Prime Minister, if he decides to shock the world with just one bold move.
The score is tied 60-60. We are in political paralysis. Today, it’s as if elections were just held and a dozen parties are all maneuvering to form a new government.
Prime Minster Naftali Bennett is in a tough spot. His only option might be to concede.
That could also be his best option.
What if Naftali Bennett himself switched sides?
It can save him, redeem him, and benefit him in so many ways:
His reputation and party would be revitalized.
In becoming Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett went from seven Knesset seats to five. His Knesset members didn’t defect over Yamina, but over the policies of the other parties in their coalition.
If Bennett were to switch back, he would regain two Knesset seats right away. The opposition would move from 52 to 59 seats. Bennett could even sway a few holdouts from New Hope or merge with them, putting us over the top with 61 or more MKs.
If he pulls it off, the right would see Naftali Bennett the way Idit Silman, who just left, sees him: A man who had the best intentions in mind. Personally, it may take me a few Yom Kippurs to forgive him. Politically, it’s a lot easier and happens all the time.
He can redefine his relationship with Netanyahu.
Mr. Netanyahu does not like to share the spotlight. His political allies and friends remained as such under one condition – he stayed the boss. The moment anyone got too close to center stage, he moved on them.
In his 15 plus years as Prime Minister, he did not establish a successor, probably feeling that any such politician would not wait for him to step down (and that proved to be true).
Anyone who tried, from Avigdor Liberman, Gidon Sa’ar, even Naftali Bennett, felt they could only come close to the top by forming their own parties.
Bennett was the only one who succeeded in succeeding him. As current leader, he has the leverage to go to Mr. Netanyahu and cut a deal: Bennett stays in power until August 2023, as planned and Netanyahu takes over instead of Lapid.
The only stipulation Naftali can add is that while he is at the helm, Netanyahu has to be his best advisor, sharing with him his thirty years of experience and proven success.
Today, it looks like Bennett will never see the inside of the Prime Minister’s office the moment he leaves . . . but this is Israel.
Anything can happen and, Baruch Hashem, always does.
The "down" side: He will be the man most hated by the Left.
Upon accepting the role of Premier, Naftali Bennett famously said to his son, “Your father will become the most hated man in Israel.”
With this move, Naftali Bennett will become the man most hated by the Left. He will be the Donald Trump of Yesh Atid and Meretz..
He won’t have to reclaim his right-wing credentials by groveling at the feet of Bezalel Smotrich. As the number one target of the Left, he can stand on podiums throughout Jerusalem, the Golan, Negev, Judea and Shomron and talk about how hated he is for trying to save Israel.
He can remind us about his initiative to develop the Golan, to establish Haredi cities in the Negev, his attempts to resist his coalition’s urge to freeze construction.
This may sound silly today, but just wait until Nitzan Horowitz calls him a homoph…, I mean a resident of San Francisco, and we might all be drinking the Kool-Aid.
In the blink of an eye, Mr. Bennett went from not making it into the Knesset just a few years ago to ruling over it.
He went from a political zero to the top overnight. In doing so, he became the Right's villain. But he can transform from villain to hero just as fast.
Let’s see if he is willing to do what it takes to pull this rabbit out of his hat.
David Ben Horin is the developer and trader for Daily Endurance.