|Date of birth||25 March 1972|
|Place of birth||Haifa, Israel|
|Party represented in Knesset|
|2013–||The Jewish Home|
|2013–||Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor|
|2013–||Minister of Religious Services|
Naftali Bennett (Hebrew: נפתלי בנט, born 25 March 1972) is an Israeli politician and former software entrepreneur. He is the leader of the right-wing political party The Jewish Home, as well as the extra-parliamentary movement My Israel and former leader of the Judea and Samaria Settlement Council. His party received 12 seats out of 120 in the 2013 Knesset elections.
Bennett was born in Haifa, one of three sons born to Jim and Myrna Bennett, who are American Jewish immigrants to Israel who had moved from San Francisco after the Six-Day War. His mother's parents moved to San Francisco from Poland twenty years before the outbreak of World War II and some of his mother's other family members who remained in Poland died in the Holocaust. His maternal grandparents made aliyah from the United States as seniors and settled on Vitkin Street in Haifa. His father, Jim Bennett’s Jewish roots come from Poland, Germany and the Netherlands. Both of his parents are Modern Orthodox Jews and are ardent right wing Zionists. His parents made aliyah one month after the Six-Day War and were volunteers for a few months at Kibbutz Dafna, where they studied Hebrew. They then settled in the Ahuza neighborhood of Haifa, and became affluent. Jim Bennett was a successful real estate broker turned real estate entrepreneur. His mother Myrna was the deputy director general of the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel's Northern District.
An ambitious child and an avid reader, he is the youngest son in his family and grew up in a Zionist right wing household. One of his two older brothers Asher is a businessman who now is based in England. His second brother Daniel became an accountant, working for Zim Integrated Shipping Services.
Bennett attended Yavne Yeshiva High-School in Haifa and became a youth leader (Madrich) with religious-Zionist youth organization Bnei Akiva. During his national service in the Israel Defense Forces, he served in the Sayeret units Matkal and Maglan as a company commander and continues to serve in the reserves today, holding the rank of Major. After his IDF service, Bennett went to receive a law degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
He moved to Upper East Side of Manhattan to build a career as a software entrepreneur. In 1999, he co-founded "Cyota" – an anti-fraud software company and served as its CEO. The company was sold in 2005 to RSA Security for $145,000,000, making Bennett a multi-millionaire in the process. Despite being sold, a stipulation of the deal allowed the Israeli arm of Cyota to remain intact. As a result, 400 Israelis are employed at the company’s Israeli offices in Beer Sheva and Herzliya.
Since moving on from software entrepreneurship, Bennett returned to Israel and since then moved on towards a career in politics. His wife, Gilat, was originally secular, but now observes the Sabbath and keeps a kosher home. His wife is a professional pastry chef. The couple have four children, and live in Ra'anana. Like his brothers, Bennett is an Orthodox Jew and is religiously observant.
After he took part in the Second Lebanon War, Bennett joined the opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu and served as his Chief of Staff from 2006 to 2008. Among attending to other issues, he led a team which developed Netanyahu's Educational reform plan. He also ran Netanyahu's primary campaign to lead the Likud party in August 2007. On January 31, 2010, Bennett was appointed as the Director General of the Yesha Council and led the struggle against the Settlement freeze in 2010. He served in this position until January 2012.
In April 2011, together with Ayelet Shaked, he co-founded My Israel which claims to have 94,000 Israeli members. In April 2012 he founded a movement named "Yisraelim" - Israelis. The movement's main goals include, increasing Zionism among center-right wing supporters; increasing dialogue between the religious and non-religious communities, and finally - promoting "The Bennett Plan". Subsequently, Bennett resigned from the Likud and joined The Jewish Home party, while announcing his candidacy for the party leadership. At the internal elections, on November 6, 2012, he won about 67% of the votes, and was elected as head of "the Jewish Home". In the 2013 elections Bennett was the main front man of the party, and lead it to an achievement of 12 seats in the 19th Knesset.
Following his election to the Knesset, Bennett had to renounce his US citizenship, which he had inherited through his parents. As a result of the January, 2013 elections to the Knesset, Bennett is now likely to serve as a member of the renewed cabinet of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the political party which he leads is expected to play a major role in financial, political and security affairs.
On February 2012, Bennett published a plan for managing the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, called "Naftali Bennett's stability initiative". The plan is based in part on parts of earlier initiatives: "peace on earth" by Adi Mintz and the "The Israeli Initiative" of Benny Elon, and relies on the statements of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud party ministers that spoke in favor of unilateral annexation of Judea and Samaria. Bennett opposes the creation of a Palestinian state: "I will do everything in my power to make sure they never get a state."
Bennett suggests a tri-partition of the Palestinian territories. Israel should unilaterally annex Area C, authority over the Gaza Strip should be transferred to Egypt, while Area A and Area B would remain with the Palestinian National Authority, however under the security umbrella of the IDF and Shin Bet to "ensure quiet, suppress Palestinian terrorism and prevent Hamas from taking over the territory". Area C constitutes 62% of the area and approximately 365,000 Israeli settlers. The Palestinians that live in this area would be offered Israeli citizenship or a permanent residency status (between 48,000, according to Bennett, or as many as 150,000, according to other surveys). Finally, Israel would invest in creating roads so Palestinians can travel between Areas A and B without checkpoints, and invest in infrastructure and joint industrial zones, because "Peace grows from below - through people, and people in daily life". Bennett also resists immigration of Palestinian refugees now living outside of Judea and Samaria, or the connection between the Hamas-controlled Gaza and Judea and Samaria. In 2011, Bennett noted that there were about 50 factories in the West Bank industrial region where Israelis and Palestinians work together, and cited this as one workable approach to finding peace between the two sides. 
Economy and society
Bennett believes in a free economy and that private businesses are the engine for economic growth. He is in favor of social support of vulnerable populations such as the elderly and disabled. Bennett says Israel needs to break the monopoly of the tycoons, the big unions and the Ministry of Defense, that are, in his opinion, strangling the economy of Israel. In addition, he believes that the key to reducing disparities is equality of opportunity and investment in education in the periphery, to give tools to populations of weaker economic backgrounds. By doing so, Bennett believes weaker populations in Israel will be given the opportunity to succeed professionally and financially. He supports the provision of land to veterans in the periphery, in the Negev and Galilee, to promote a national solution to the problem of "affordable housing" and a more equitable distribution of the population in Israel. Bennett is opposed to the implementation of same-sex marriage in Israel. He has in the past refused to meet with gay Orthodox groups, saying "there are more important issues."
- Ruth Pollard (10 January 2013). "Far right spells danger for Netanyahu". The Age. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
- Brent E. Sasley (18 January 2013). "A Centrist Government in Israel?". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
- Nick Meo (19 January 2013). "Israel's new political star Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home party determined to stop Palestinian state". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
- "21 Knesset seats still up for grabs". Ynet. January 13, 2013. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
- Israel’s election: A newly hatched hawk flies high
- Final election count: Right bloc ... JPost - Diplomacy & Politics
- Revital Hovel (Jan.18, 2013). "Deconstructing Naftali Bennett: Growing up to be a leader". Haaretz. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- Naftali Bennett – Official biography page at The Jewish Home
- The Bayit Yehudi
- David Remnick: Naftali Bennett and Israel’s Rightward Shift : The New Yorker
- RSA Security to Acquire Cyota; Creates Leading Provider of Layered Authentication Solutions, RSA Security Inc. Press Release
- Naftali Bennett interview: 'There won't be a Palestinian state within Israel' | World news | guardian.co.uk
- Allison Kaplan Sommer (Jan.08, 2013). "Naftali Bennett’s American parents are kvelling with pride". Haaretz. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- The new great white hope of the religious right? | The Times of Israel
- Opinion: Israeli Election - by Gwynne Dyer
- Naftali Bennett’s American parents are kvelling with pride Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
- Six new MKs must renounce foreign citizenship | JPost | Israel News
- Netanyahu's New Government: More Extremist than the Last| Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies
- The Israel Stability Initiative – A Practical Program for Managing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Naftali Bennett, February 29th 2012 (PDF, Englisch)
- David Remnick (21 January 2013), The settlers move to annex the West Bank—and Israeli politics. The New Yorker
- Chaim Levinson (17 January 2013), Bennett's West Bank plan ignores existence of about 100,000 Palestinians Haaretz
- Do West Bank Realities Defy Perceptions?, by Gary Rosenblatt, Jewish Week, Tuesday, January 25, 2011.
- ""לשחרר המשק מהחנק של הוועדים, הטייקונים, משרד הביטחון ומינהל מקרקעי ישראל" - בחירות בישראל - דה מרקר TheMarker". Themarker.com. 1997-02-12. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- Matti Friedman: The new (secular) face of religious Zionism, Times of Israel, December 26, 2012
- "על תכניתה הכלכלית של שלי יחימוביץ, על שכל ישר, ומה בעצם צריך לעשות | הבית היהודי בראשות נפתלי בנט". Baityehudi.org.il. 2012-11-27. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- Habayit Hayehudi leader: Israel cannot recognize same-sex marriage
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Naftali Bennett|
- Biography at the Jewish Home website
- Naftali Bennett on Facebook
- Naftali Bennett's channel on YouTube
- Naftali Bennett on the Knesset website
- Naftali Bennett collected news and commentary at The Times of Israel
- Naftali Bennett collected news and commentary at Arutz Sheva
- Naftali Bennett at the Open Directory Project