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When Israel's two religious-Zionist parties united in November 2012, they comprised 5 Knesset seats (two others formed a break-away party). Recent polls predict some 15 seats for the combined Jewish Home – National Union faction.
How did the religious-Zionist public triple their representation?
Meet Naftali Bennett.
His credentials are impressive:
- He is a major in the reserves in Israel’s most elite IDF unit: Matkal
- He founded a hi-tech company, and the partners sold it for $145 million
- PM Netanyahu’s Chief of Staff in 2006-7
- Director of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria from Jan. 2010
Bennett is a rising star who through his many media appearances is positioning a proud and uncompromising claim to our land and our Jewish values as mainstream.
What are Bennett’s policies that are so convincing? Here’s a brief summary.
Bennett’s Position on a Two-State Solution
Summed up in one word: No.
Hear Bennett in his own words on this topic (in fluent English!) at the 5:35 minute mark in the video below. He successfully conveys a refreshing new message that saying “no” to a two-state solution is the logical and compulsory conclusion of recent Israeli policy. Watch the whole 7-minute video to hear his vision for Israel in the year 2040.
Bennett’s Next Step In Dealing with the Arabs
In the 1990’s, the Labor Party governments of Rabin and Peres imported tens of thousands of Arab soldiers from Tunis and handed tens of thousands of assault rifles to members of the world’s premier terrorist organization – the PLO – in order to facilitate peace in Israel. (I know that sounds like madness but leave it for another article.) The Labor Party leaders thereby established Arab autonomy over much of the region known as the West Bank. The map of this region was divided by the Labor Party into three areas:
- Area A - large Arab-populated cities like Ramallah, Shechem, Hevron with Arab military control (20% of the land);
- Area B - Smaller Arab towns with municipal but not military control (20% of the land);
- Area C – the Jewish towns and tracts of open state-owned land (60% of the land incl. Judean Desert).
Bennett formulated a practical plan which takes a step forward towards Israeli sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria. He advocates extending Israeli sovereignty over Area C, while leaving Areas A and B under the status quo. Extending Israeli rule over areas A and B would involve an all-out military clash and violent confiscation of weapons. But, annexing Area C – the Jewish towns – is picking the easy-reachable low-hanging fruit.
Here is the plan (English subtitles):
Bennett presents the same plan in this English video:
Bennett’s Economic Agenda
In the video below (starting at the 5:00-minute mark), Bennett explains the three groups and institutions which are strangling the Israel market:
- The ruling elite tycoons
- The Defense Ministry which has more than doubled its budget in ten years. The reason? The terms and pensions for the employees of the Ministry and IDF have become inflated
- The labor unions which promote excellent terms for 250,000 workers, but this is done at the expense of the weak sectors.
( English subtitles)
Lowering Tuition Costs
"Giving=Receiving" is Bennett’s new policy regarding lowering tuition costs for those who serve in the IDF. He sought to reward people who serve in the IDF without increasing the military budget. But how? Here is his simple, brilliant idea.
State universities and state-subsidized colleges cost the Israeli student (whether Jew or Arab) approximately 10,000 NIS ($2600)/year. The private colleges cost 30,000 NIS ($8,000). That means that the state is, in essence, subsidizing every Jewish or Arab student at state schools with a 20,000 NIS ($5400) subsidy.
In order to encourage service in the IDF and reserves, Bennett’s plan raises the subsidy for students who enlisted (including minorities) and lowering the subsidy for students who didn’t contribute to the country (be they Hareidi-religious or Arab or anyone else).
Regarding tuition for the state schools, he says:
- IDF Reservists - pay only 5,000 NIS instead of current 10,000 NIS
- Others – pay 20,000 NIS instead of current 10,000 NIS.
Here is the college tuition plan in Hebrew (no subtitles)
Bennett on CNN On Gaza Warfare (in English)
Excellent job in presenting Israel’s case
A Relaxed Interview With Bennett at His Home (English Subtitles)
Finally, here is the Jewish Home Party's USA-born immigrant stating in clear English the party’s platform
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