On Sunday, we witnessed what most Israelis felt was one of the most bizarre and embarrassing events in the history of Israel’s Knesset (parliament). Naftali Bennett was being installed as our new prime minister, and as he was speaking, sharing his vision for the nation, he was heckled and called names by supporters of outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—throughout his entire speech. One veteran newscaster in Israel said he has been covering the Knesset since he first became a journalist, and he’s never seen anything like this.
I know for believers, who love Israel, and have been fans of Benjamin Netanyahu over the years, this is a very confusing moment. But you must understand that just because someone was once great does not mean that they will finish well. If we had term limits in Israel, I think that Prime Minister Netanyahu would have retired not only as one of the greatest heads of state in Israel’s history, but in all history!
But he has not finished well.
- In 2019, he brought racist elements from far-right extremists into the Knesset in an effort to help solidify his coalition. The actions of those racists, now Knesset members, fueled the flames for our latest conflict with Hamas.
- Most of the talented politicians in his own party have left, because instead of raising up new, fresh leadership, he marginalized anyone that he considered competition. Interestingly enough, many of those younger, fresh faces, are part of the new coalition, including Naftali Bennett (new prime minister), Avigdor Lieberman (new finance minister) and Gidon Sa’ar (new justice minister).
- Most of the people who now surround him are sycophants who tell him only what he wants to hear.
- Almost exactly one year ago today, his government shutdown Shelanu TV, our 24/7 cable TV channel sharing the good news of Yeshua in Hebrew. (We resurfaced as a digital channel and are bearing much fruit!) How do you think God felt about that? And one of the reasons they did that was because of pressure from the ultra-orthodox parties. Those same ultra-orthodox are no longer in the government, and that is a good thing for Israel!
- Benjamin Netanyahu is presently under indictment and is in the middle of a trial for three counts of corruption. It’s highly possible that a year from now he could be in jail.
Some have expressed concern that we will have an Islamic group in the government. Let’s set the record straight:
- Former Prime Minister Netanyahu was negotiating with this same party in trying to form his government. So, for him to cry foul now is quite hypocritical. But such is politics. In his speech, Bennett thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu (in what was surely a taunt) for his boldness in opening up the door to bring in Arab citizens of Israel into the government.
- The Islamic Ra’am party led by Mansour Abbas is not in the government. They merely voted in favor of the new government in exchange for several concessions, most of which were about helping to build up the Arab sector in Israel. Nothing radical.
Most of the Messianic Jews here in Israel that I know are in favor of the new government. I’ve read a few articles from right wing pundits in America who are presenting this as a left-wing takeover, a project of the deep state in Israel and the result of election fraud. I don’t know any serious person in Israel who believes such nonsense.
- Prime Minister Bennett is to the right of Netanyahu.
- If there is a deep state, they would be loyal to former Prime Minister Netanyahu because he has been leading the country for 12 years.
- The election was March 23rd, and no one has claimed that there was any fraud until Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett announced two weeks ago that they had the votes to form a coalition.
These people don’t live here, and they are simply taking the Trump template and applying it to Israel. They have presented Naftali Bennett, as a power-hungry manipulator. While like any politician, I’m sure he has some personal ambition, the Israeli public does not view him that way.
I will say this—Bennett did something at the end of his speech that I have never heard Benjamin Netanyahu do—he prayed!
“Now, hours before accepting this responsibility, I pray to God that He grant me wisdom and understanding to lead the State of Israel.
“‘Heavenly Father, Rock and Redeemer of Israel, bless the State of Israel, the first flourishing of our redemption, guard it in your abundant kindness, spread over it the shelter of Your peace. Send forth your light and truth to its leaders, ministers, and advisors, and grace them with Your good counsel. Strengthen the hands of those who guard our holy land, grant them deliverance, and adorn them in victory. Give peace in the land, and grant its inhabitants eternal happiness.’
“With God’s help, we will do and we will succeed. Amen.”