NAFTALI Bennett is on the brink of potentially ending the reign of Israel’s longest serving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

As a polarising figure in Israel politics, the far right leader could be a controversial candidate. Here are some of the key details.

Who is Naftali Bennett?

Naftali Bennett is a self-made tech millionaire and former Defence Minister of Israel.

As a former Special Forces commando, the 49-year year old is the son of US-born parents and lives with his wife Galit and four children in the central city of Raanana.

He entered politics after selling his tech start-up for 145million in 2005, and the next year became chief of staff to current Prime Minister Netanyahu, who was then in opposition.

Sources suggest that pair shared a rock relationship during their time working decision, despite sharing similar ideologies.

Yet, having reportedly left the party on bad terms, he broke back into politics in 2012 who took charge of the far-right Jewish Home party (now known as Yamina).

From then on his notoriety rose as he started to make headlines with a series of controversial comments.

In 2013, he said Palestinian “terrorists should be killed, not released.”

What are Naftali Bennet's policies?

The 49-year-old leads the Yamina Party which has called for Israel to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

Bennett personally argues that the West Bank is not under occupation because “there was never a Palestinian state here,” and that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could not be resolved but must be endured, like a piece of “shrapnel in the buttocks.”

In 2020, he sought to press ahead with the annexation during the final months of the Donald Trump administration, but this fell down after Israel formalised ties with the United Arab Emirates.

Away from Palestinian matters, Naftali has built a reputation as a progressive politician.  

This includes his comparatively liberal views on issues such as gay rights and the relationship between religion and state.

Could Naftali Bennett become the next IsraeIi Prime Minister?

As of May 2021, Bennett is seeking a coalition deal that could depose the country’s longest-serving leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s and replace him in charge of the country.

In a nationwide address, Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett said he had decided to join forces with the centrist party leader, Yair Lapid.

In his address to Israeli's Bennett said: "It's my intention to do my utmost in order to form a national unity government along with my friend Yair Lapid, so that, God willing, together we can save the country from a tailspin and return Israel to its course."

The pair have until Wednesday to complete a deal in which they are expected to each serve two years as prime minister in a rotation deal. 

Lapid's Yesh Atid party said negotiating teams met on Sunday.

A unity government would end the cycle of deadlock that has plunged the country into four inconclusive elections over the past two years.

But it also would end, at least for the time being, the record-setting tenure of Netanyahu, who is currently on trial for fraud.

Minutes after Bennett’s announcement, Netanyahu lashed out, calling the plan “a danger for the security of Israel”.

He accused Bennett of betraying the Israeli right-wing and urged nationalist politicians who have joined the coalition talks not to establish what he called a “leftist government”.

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