Q&A With Naftali Bennett

You were critical of the ceasefire with Hamas in August – how would you have done things differently?

There is no doubt that Hamas was defeated in the operation. None of Hamas' demands were met and they ultimately received nothing from the ceasefire resolution. We however beat Hamas, destroyed its tunnels, significantly impaired its rocket capability, its infrastructure and killed hundreds of its terrorists.

Ultimately, we will need to defeat Hamas in a more comprehensive way, but the Cabinet decided that this was not the time to do it.

You're also a staunch opponent of a "2-State Solution" in Judea-Samaria. What is the alternative?

I have proposed in the past what I call the Stability Plan.

Under the plan, Israel will annex and apply Israeli law to what is known as Area C, where 400,000 Israelis and 70,000 Palestinians live. The Palestinians who live in Area C would be offered Israeli citizenship.

Palestinians living in what are known as Area A and Area B of Judea and Samaria will govern themselves, hold their own elections, run their own schools, issue their own building permits and manage their own health-care system.

They will, however, not be given a state. Let's be clear – a Palestinian state would bring disaster to the State of Israel. We cannot allow terrorists to control the territory that overlooks the Gush Dan region,  Ben Gurion  Airport and Jerusalem. We also need to retain our national heritage sites.

The operation in Gaza shows us that any territory we vacate is filled by terrorists. We were told that if we leave Gaza, the Palestinians will turn it into the Singapore of the Middle East. Instead, it turned into a fortress of terror. We cannot let the same happen in Judea and Samaria.

With the summer's drama over, some of the contentious issues which slipped under the radar are bound to come up again, for example the issue of the haredi military draft. Are you happy with the current bill and do you think it will work?

I am confident it will work. This will bring change to Israeli society and will integrate the haredi sector into the workforce and military in a real way.

This bill is also a key to easing the burden on the part of Israeli society that works, serves in the military and pays the bulk of taxes. It is time that all sectors of society share that burden.

What are the best and worst aspects of your job?

My job gives me the opportunity to effect positive change in Israel and throughout Israeli society. I only wish I had more time to spend with my four children.

If there was one thing you could change about Israel, what would it be?

Israel is an amazing country and a modern day miracle. After 66 years we have achieved the near impossible: establishing a sovereign Jewish state, rebuilding Jerusalem, and establishing Jewish communities throughout our ancient land.

 I believe we need to continue to strengthen Israel's Jewish identity and democratic character. We need to safeguard our people, our country, our Torah and our land.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/208874

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