Bennett eyes defense ministry: ‘I will return fear to the enemy’

Naftali Bennett says that if he were defense minister, he would reinstate the concept of protecting Israeli soldiers and defeating the enemy.

By World Israel News Staff

New Right leader Naftali Bennett has voiced support for Benjamin Netanyahu to continue as prime minister but is relaunching his own bid to become Israel’s next defense minister following the April parliamentary election.

Netanyahu has held the defense portfolio since November when Avigdor Liberman resigned. Bennett wanted to take Liberman’s place and threatened to quit the government if his demand was not met, though he later withdrew the ultimatum.

However, on Sunday, he again expressed frustration over the lack of an Israeli response to Palestinian attacks from the Gaza Strip.

“I see that the air force attacked [terror] targets,” Bennett said on Kan public radio, adding however  that “an attack in which there are no casualties among the enemy is a fake attack.”

Bennett currently serves as education and diaspora affairs minister and is a member of the security cabinet.

“We have to replace the defense minister, not the prime minister,” he told the radio station. “I’m saying that we have to replace Defense Minister Netanyahu, not Prime Minister Netanyahu,” he stressed.

Bennett argues that the current Israeli policy of “holding back” encourages more terrorism.

“As defense minister, I would return fear to the enemy,” he pledged.

“I turn to the mother who sent her son to the army and I tell her that she should know that I would prefer that not one hair falls from her son’s head over mothers in Gaza sleeping quietly,” said Bennett.

He said that Hamas had to be defeated and wondered “when did we stop thinking in those terms?”

Bennett insisted that when he has been allowed to have influence, the result was the Israeli demolition of terror tunnels. However, he singled out Netanyahu, as well as Benny Gantz and Moshe Ya’alon, as having resisted his campaigns to take a tougher stand against Palestinian terror.

Gantz and Ya’alon are running on a joint list and challenging Netanyahu in the upcoming Knesset election.