Bennett says Israel 'tired' of being defined by conflict with Palestinians

In interview to Sunday Times, PM discusses a variety of issues, including Israel's willingness to lead the world in technological climate initiatives, Iran's nuclear ambitions, and how his government managed to 'crush' COVID
Itamar Eichner|
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in told a UK newspaper in an interview published Sunday that Israel is ready to lead the world in the fight against climate change, said his government "crushed" COVID and that Israeli are tired of being defined by the conflict with the Palestinians.
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  • In an interview with the UK based Sunday Times, given ahead of his departure to participate in the UN climate summit in Glasgow, Bennett said that despite Israel being a small country, it can 'punch above its weight in the fight against global warming.
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    נפתלי בנט בריאיון לעיתון טיימס הלונדוני
    נפתלי בנט בריאיון לעיתון טיימס הלונדוני
    Bennett in an interview with Sunday Times
    “For the world to get to zero emissions by 2050, changing our behavior will do less than half the job. The other half will come from technology that has yet to be developed. That’s where Israel has to lead,” Bennett said, but acknowledged that most of the Israeli tech industry is not focused on climate issues.
    The prime minister said he intended to cut red tape "with a machete," to entice companies to invest in climate change solutions.
    Bennett told the paper that Israel, that is in the forefront of water desalinization technology can increase its use of solar energy and improve the production of renewable energy in partnership with countries in the region.
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    מתקן הטפלה של מים שורק פלמחים
    מתקן הטפלה של מים שורק פלמחים
    A water desalinization plant in central Israel
    (Photo: Water Authorities website)
    Bennett told the British publication that Israel has too long been defined by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    “I don’t think there’s a significant leader in the region who currently thinks there’s somewhere to go right now in the diplomatic process [with the Palestinians]. We learned the hard way that transferring territory and creating state-like entities doesn’t work,” Bennet said.
    His fragile coalition made up of parties representing the left and right of the Israeli political spectrum has decided “there’s no annexation [of territory] and no freeze [of settlement building].”
    Bennett's government last week approved construction in West Bank settlements angering both the Biden administration and the EU.
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    בניה בברוכין
    בניה בברוכין
    Construction of new housing units in the West Bank settlement of Bruchin
    (Photo: AP)
    In another move that earned international ire, Defense Minister Benny Gantz branded six Palestinian human rights groups as terror affiliated organizations.
    Bennett said Israel is investing large sums in military preparedness in order to meet the challenges of Iran's nuclear ambitions.
    “We will work against them, using all our energy, all our innovation and technology and economy to get to a point where we are a number of steps ahead,” Bennett said.
    He called on world leaders to increase pressure on the Islamic Republic, claiming a threat of military actions, along with diplomatic and economic presser “will make it clear to Iran there will be very serious implications if they continue to enrich uranium," he said.
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    איזור התקיפה
    איזור התקיפה
    Aftermath of a strike in Syria allegedly targeting a convoy carrying Iranian weapons to the Hezbollah organization attributed to Israel on Saturday
    Bennett also said his government succeeded in its response to the COVID surge over the summer.
    “We’ve crushed COVID,” he told the paper, in his first interview with a European outlet since coming into office. “We’ve crushed the Delta variant.”
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