Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked
Naftali Bennett and Ayelet ShakedYonatan Sindel/Flash90

In an interview published in Yediot Ahronot, former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reveals that he has no qualms with the way his government handled its affairs - starting with improving conditions for the Arab sector to taking the offensive in Iran.

Bennett says he is proud of the way the coalition, made up of "polar opposites when it comes to ideological issues" went about "doing what's best for the people of Israel" and "coming up with pragmatic solutions" to complex problems. The former premier maintains he was able to "accomplish more in a year's time than most administrations in a full term."

Bennett says that while maintaining a "respectful dialogue" with the Americans on Iran, Israel took the fight to "Iran's backyard", shifting the conflict from a "defensive affair to an offensive [onslaught]." He also points out that while it was clear that an annexation of Judea and Samaria would not take place, there would also be no talk of a Palestinian state. "Not on my watch," he stresses.

The former leader asserts that Israel is a "Western state surrounded by enemies on all sides" and that, "there is no room for mistakes." He says he tread a thin line when dealing with Putin and the war in Ukraine, doing everything he could to ensure the security of Russian Jews without angering the West.

"Russia is actually our neighbor to the northeast and strongly influences Israel's freedom of action in Iran and Syria," points out Bennett. "We worked hard to assist the Ukrainian people, setting up a field hospital and taking in thousands of refugees but at the end of the day, my [foremost responsibility] is to the State of Israel and the Jewish people," he continues.

"When I was asked to wrap myself in the Ukrainian flag, I honestly replied that the only flag I had was Israel's. There were those who were angry with me, but I know very well that no one will fight our wars for us. Not in Iran, not in Syria, not in Gaza. No one will stand up for Jews in times of trouble. We have already learned this lesson."