Naftali Bennett
Naftali BennettAmos Ben Gershom/GPO

Former prime minister Naftali Bennett summed up his brief term as Israel's premier in an Op Ed which was published in the Sunday New York Times, calling the outgoing government a "goodwill government" which attempted to unite Israel.

“We called ourselves a good-will government. We proved to ourselves and to those outside our coalition that people with radically different political opinions can work incredibly well together. The world is more polarized than ever. The model we presented was one of cooperation and unity. Of transcending your tribe for the good of your nation," he said.

Bennett had nothing but praise for R'am chairman Mansour Abbas, who made history by bringing his Islamist party into an Israeli government for the first time, calling Abbas a "brave leader" and a "mensch."

He further stated that his government had success in passing legislation because of its adherence to the "70/70 rule," according to which 70% of Israeli citizens agree on 70% of the issues, and those are the issues which should be focused upon.

“We all agree that we need better trains and roads, better education, more security and a lower cost of living. However, we disagree on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, religion and state and the desired nature of our legal system,”

He added: "So my government focused on getting the 70 percent done, as opposed to endlessly wrangling over the issues we didn’t agree on. We all agreed that this government will neither insist on Israeli sovereignty for territories nor hand them over to Palestinians,"

According to Bennett, this strategy allowed the various parties of his government to work together and see beyond the names they may have called each other during the previous four election campaigns.

“Though my government operated for only a year, I believe we imprinted a unique image and model of how a highly polarized society can cooperate,” he said. “That beautiful image, once engraved in hearts and minds, cannot be easily erased.”

Bennett claimed that his government fell because it "did a poor job fending off the enormous amount of misinformation that was being spread across Israel and blind sectarianism. This campaign succeeded and brought my government to its end."

The former prime minister called on the incoming government to remember how disparate factions worked together in the government it is replacing and to work to keep Israel united.

"A new government is now being established in Israel, and I hope that its leaders will understand that the greatest challenge for Israel is keeping all parts of Israeli society together. The State of Israel is the third manifestation of a Jewish political entity in the Holy Land," he said.

Bennett, who resigned as Alternate Prime Minister earlier this month, announced his retirement from politics after his government collapsed and new elections were called in the summer.

Bennett said, "I wish success to the government that will be formed. The government under my leadership knew how to implement a national policy, but it did so through negotiation and agreement."

"We prevented the signing of the nuclear agreement with Iran, we stopped the opening of a consulate in Jerusalem, we brought, for the first time in years, peace to the residents of the Gaza envelope, we returned masses of unemployed to work and we successfully passed a budget full of economic reforms. I hope that the new government will know how to act responsibly, while creating as broad consensus as possible among the people," added Bennett.

Despite the fact that the outgoing government has yet to leave office, Bennett has already finalized the timetable for a forthcoming global lecture tour, according to a report in Israel Hayom.

One of the first stops in the tour is apparently Australia, with three separate speaking engagements already booked there.

The timetable was apparently fixed some time ago, after Bennett resigned from all the positions of authority he held in the government he headed, alongside Yair Lapid.

Several months ago, a similar report appeared in the Jerusalem Post, which earned a denial from Bennett that he had begun making arrangements for a foreign speaking tour while still serving as Alternate Prime Minister.

Bennett's office responded to this latest report, saying, "After over a decade of service in Israeli governments as Economy Minister, Education Minister, Defense Minister, and Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett is a private citizen, and during his coming year as a private citizen he will be conducting a lecture tour, visiting Jewish centers of population as well as other locations.

"In addition, he regularly volunteers his time to speak to educators at pre-military academies and to soldiers, and he will continue to do this with great enthusiasm and dedication."