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Issue Brief December 15, 2021

Doing it his way: How Naftali Bennett could beat the odds and wind up transforming Israel

By Shalom Lipner

Israel’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennett – who came to power in June after the uninterrupted twelve-year tenure of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – is virtually unknown on the global stage. Prime Minister Bennett, however, is moving through this uncharted territory ambitiously. As the head of an unlikely coalition of ideological opposites that emerged from the crucible of four rapid-fire Israeli elections in under two years, Bennett is showing signs of metamorphosis from impetuous upstart to mature statesman.

A new issue brief by Atlantic Council Nonresident Senior Fellow Shalom Lipner examines the viability of the ruling coalition created by Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Israel’s alternate prime minster who is slated to rotate with Bennett in August 2023. Lipner’s new Issue Brief makes the argument for the transformative potential of Team Bennett-Lapid – despite the new government’s limited goals, which correspond to areas of broad consensus among disparate components of the new parliamentary majority – to improve Israel’s domestic politics and foreign relations.

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Image: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett chairs the first weekly cabinet meeting of his new government in Jerusalem June 20, 2021. Emmanuel Dunand/Pool via REUTERS