Bennett defends legacy, hails coalition ‘experiment’ as a ‘success’ in NYT interview


Outgoing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett defended his quick tenure as Israel’s chief, hailing the “experiment” of his various coalition as a “success” in a brief interview revealed Wednesday.

“In a world the place home polarization is turning into virtually the one greatest problem, the experiment succeeded,” Bennett advised New York Occasions columnist Bret Stephens, who reported their phone dialog in an article titled “Naftali Bennett’s Exit Interview.”

The “experiment” was placing collectively a various coalition along with Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid that included eight events from the proper, middle, left, and for the primary time, an Arab celebration.

Bennett advised the Occasions that the various events have been capable of accomplish all that they did by being prepared to “put aside ideological disagreements” and concentrate on “higher training, higher jobs, higher infrastructure.”

He touted Israel’s low unemployment, financial development, and the federal government’s most seen success, which got here in November when the Knesset authorised a nationwide funds for 2021 and 2022, the primary time a funds had been authorised in three and a half years.

The passing of the invoice delayed the specter of elections within the authorities’s early days however was in the end not sufficient to avert its eventual collapse.

The heads of the eight events making up the brand new authorities meet within the Knesset on June 13, 2021. Left to proper: Ra’am head Mansour Abbas, Labor chief Merav Michaeli, Blue and White head Benny Gantz, Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid, Yamina chief Naftali Bennett, New Hope head Gideon Sa’ar, Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman and Meretz chief Nitzan Horowitz. (Ariel Zandberg)

Bennett gave the interview Tuesday, a day after he and Lapid introduced their intention to disperse the Knesset after a number of defections from coalition events introduced it to a parliamentary minority, rendering it unable to operate.

The Knesset on Wednesday handed a preliminary studying of the invoice on its dissolution and is predicted to formally disperse as early as Monday for brand spanking new elections within the fall. Lapid might be appointed caretaker prime minister, in response to the coalition settlement.

Bennett additionally hailed the free commerce settlement signed with the UAE and Israel’s participation in a US-led Center East Air Protection Alliance.

However in the end the coalition collapsed after opponents on each political extremes “discovered the weakest hyperlinks and utilized super stress,” he advised the Occasions.

Throughout the interview, Bennett additionally alluded to covert Israeli actions in Iran, telling Stephens that when Iranians “hit us by means of proxies or instantly, they’ll pay a value in Iran,” outlining what he named the “Octopus doctrine” of hanging Tehran at its head relatively than its tentacles.

Tensions between Israel and Iran have intensified in latest weeks, after the assassination of a prime Iranian officer in Tehran final month that it blames on Israel and a number of other different deaths of safety and scientific personnel in Iran.

“It seems these guys are extra susceptible than they appear,” Bennett mentioned. “The Iranian regime is rotten, corrupt — and incompetent.”

Mourners collect round a truck carrying the flag draped coffin of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei who was killed on Sunday, in his funeral ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Could 24, 2022. (AP Picture/Vahid Salemi)

Addressing the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot amid a gun battle between Israeli troopers and Palestinian gunmen within the West Financial institution’s Jenin refugee camp in Could, Bennett asserted IDF troopers “undoubtedly” didn’t deliberately goal her.

The Palestinians have accused Israeli troopers of intentionally focusing on Abu Akleh. Israel says it’s unattainable to undoubtedly say who shot the reporter with out entry to the bullet, which the Palestinian Authority is refusing to share with Israel.

The navy has mentioned that if Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli fireplace, it was an accident.

Bennett emphasised: “By no means will Israeli troopers deliberately goal reporters.”

Bennett additionally mentioned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying he wished to see a conclusion to the struggle “ASAP,” with out instantly expressing hope for a Ukrainian victory.

Bennett tried a mediation position within the battle, as a part of an effort additionally meant to take care of viable Israeli ties with Russia, which has a big navy pressure in Syria throughout Israel’s northern border, the place Israel is in search of to stop Iran’s entrenchment.

Bennett claimed within the interview {that a} humanitarian hall was opened out of the besieged Azovstal metal mill in Mariupol on account of his diplomatic efforts.

After virtually a decade within the Knesset, Hebrew-language media reported on Wednesday that Bennett was contemplating taking a break from politics.

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