Bennett does not live in a settlement. It is ideology and nationalism, not residence, that unites Bennett to his party. He lives in Ra'anana, a small city north of Tel Aviv that Remnick says is full of "programmers and executives," many of whom share his pro-settlement views.
Bayit Yehudi's political program unites the settler movement with the religious/nationalist conservatives who share the party's rejection of any further talk of a two-state "solution."- Advertisement -
Remnick quotes Bennett: "I will do everything in my power to make sure [the Palestinians] never get a state. ... No more negotiations, no more illusions."
"To Bennett, there is nothing complex about the question of occupation. There is no occupation. 'The land is ours': that is pretty much the end of the debate.
"'I will do everything in my power, forever, to fight against a Palestinian state being founded in the Land of Israel,' he said. 'I don't think there is a clear-cut solution for the Israeli-Arab conflict in this generation.'"
During the recent assault on Gaza, Bennett was a proponent of a ground invasion and criticized Netanyahu when he limited the conflict to a week of air strikes.- Advertisement -
This kind of talk has apparently electrified younger, prosperous and ideological conservative voters, who embrace the settlements as righteous claimants to the land that "belongs to Israel."
David Remnick offers this closing word on Naftali Bennett:
"If Bennett becomes Prime Minister someday -- and his ambition is as plump and glaring as a harvest moon -- he intends to annex most of the West Bank and let Arab cities like Ramallah, Nablus, and Jenin be 'self-governing' but 'under Israeli security.'"
What would Chuck Schumer, the Israeli clearance officer for President Obama's cabinet appointments, think about that development?
The picture above of Bayit Yehudi leader Naftli Bennett, is from the Jerusalem Post. It was taken by Marc Israel Sellem.