Former education minister and ‘New Right’ head Naftali Bennett has just been appointed by Prime Minister Netanyahu as Israel’s Defense Minister. Bennett has replaced Netanyahu himself, the previous defense minister. Many pundits have speculated that the move was made as a political maneuver to prevent Bennett from joining a minority government formed by former four-star general, Benny Gantz, Netnyahu’s rival.
Back in 2017 following the assassination of Druze policemen Ha’il Satawi and Kamil Shnaan which took place on the Temple Mount, the cabinet placed metal detectors at the exclusively Arab entrances to the holy site. However, those devices were removed several days later following violent protests and negotiations with Jordan over the return of an Israeli embassy employee killed by a Jordanian terrorist after the latter stabbed him with a screwdriver.
Before the metal detectors were removed from the holy site, the cabinet put their removal to a vote. The only members to vote against their removal were Zeev Elkin (Likud), Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett.
Additionally, Bennett has said that if he were defense minister, he would kill terrorists who launch arson balloons into Israel as well as any terrorist trying to breach Israel’s security fence on the Gaza-Israel border. He has been known to blast former defense minister Liberman’s weak response to terror emanating from Gaza. Additionally, during Israel’s 2014 Operation Protective Edge, Bennett was reportedly the only one in the security cabinet calling on then Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and Chief of staff Benny Gantz to s Hamas terror tunnels. He also came out against releasing terrorists in the Gilad Shalit exchange back in 2011.
Bennett is a decorated soldier who served in Sayeret Matkal (Israel’s equivalent of the Delta Force) and was head of another elite unit called Shaldag.