Naftali Bennett: The tech millionaire son of Berkeley ‘left-wingers’ who is poised to take over from Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu
Pending a Knesset vote, Naftali Bennett will become Israel’s next prime minister.
He was raised by two UC Berkeley graduates and has lived in Israel, Canada, and the US.
The right-wing multimillionaire was also controversially involved in the 1996 “Qana Massacre” of 106 civilians.
Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, could soon be out of office after an unlikely coalition of eight opposition parties successfully reached a deal to form a new government. If the coalition is ratified in Israel’s Knesset on Sunday afternoon, Netanyahu will be replaced as prime minister by his former Chief of Staff and the head of the right-wing Yamina party- Naftali Bennett. Bennett, an ultra-nationalist multimillionaire, would serve as prime minister for two years before handing over to the Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid. With Bennett poised to take the reigns imminently, many are wondering who the prime minister-in-waiting actually is. Both of his parents are graduates of the University of California, Berkeley Bennett was born in the port city Haifa in 1972. He descends from Holocaust survivors on his mother’s side and has Polish, German, and Dutch roots, according to Haaretz. His parents, Myrna and Jim Bennett, are American but now live in Haifa. They visited Israel for a vacation after the Six-Day War in 1967 and ended up settling, according to The Jewish News of Northern California. Bennett’s father is a fifth-generation San Franciscan, the paper reported. His parents are graduates of the University of California, Berkeley, and were “left-wingers” until they moved to Israel and embraced nationalism, his mother told Haaretz. “In the US, we were against the Vietnam War. We went to Berkeley. We were automatically like left-wingers. When we came to Israel, I felt I loved the place I was living in,” she said in a 2013 interview.