Naftali Bennett

Who is Israel's incoming Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett?

Naftali Bennett

Naftali Bennett

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Gaza post

 

On Sunday evening, Naftali Bennett will be sworn in as Prime Minister of Israel's 36th government.


Bennett, an American Jewish immigrant from California, was born in Haifa in 1972. He was raised in a secular household, but as he grew older, his family gradually became more religious. He now identifies as a Modern Orthodox Christian.


Bennett worked as a company commander in elite IDF units Sayeret Matkal and Maglan and studied law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

 

 


He created a hi-tech firm after receiving his degree and later served as the CEO of Cyota, an anti-fraud software company, in New York for several years. He later handled the company's $145 million sale in 2005. Bennett went on to duplicate the feat in 2009, when the firm he helped build, Soluto, was sold for $130 million.

 


Bennett returned to Israel and went into politics, serving as chief of staff to then-opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu from 2006 to 2008, when he broke out with Netanyahu's wife Sara and was expelled from the Likud Party.

 

 

Between January 2010 to January 2012, Bennett worked as the director-general of the Yesha Council, the umbrella body for the municipal councils of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

 


Bennett was elected president of the right-wing, religious-Zionist Bayit Yehudi party in November 2012. He led the party to 12 Knesset seats in the 2013 election, a figure religious-party Zionism's has not seen in 36 years. In the 19th Knesset, he served as Economy Minister, Religious Affairs Minister, and Diaspora Affairs Minister.

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