A look at the “fresh” plan for apartheid from Naftali Bennett, Israel’s rising political star

Recent opinion polls predict that Habayit Hayehudi, the ultra-anti-Palestinian Zionist party headed by Naftali Bennett, a son of American settlers, could take 14-17 seats in Israel’s election next week, making it the second or third largest party, and likely a member of the governing coalition.

Habayit Hayehudi – whose name means “the Jewish home” – was formed from a merger of the National Religious Party, Moledet and Tekuma, whose platforms supported the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians outright.

The rise of Bennett, who is seen pulling support from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and other Zionist parties also signals the increasing comfort Israelis have with frank calls for an apartheid regime to preserve Jewish supremacy over the Palestinian majority in historic Palestine.

Bennett set out his plans in the short, subtitled YouTube video above, and in a document called “The Israel Stability Initiative: A Practical Program for Managing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” (PDF).

Annexation and segregation

A map of the West Bank from Bennett’s plan: Israel will annex all the blue bits.

Bennett is a successful businessman, and so his marketing is slick, but that cannot conceal the raw racism behind his plan. Here are the main points:

  • Israel will annex what the Oslo Accords designated as “Area C” of the occupied West Bank, that is more than 60 percent of the territory, while millions of Palestinians will be allowed to have autonomy in Areas A and B – ghettoes comprised over the major cities and their nearby villages. In practice this is not very different from the current situation, except the pretense that a Palestinian state exists or will be created would be dropped forever.

  • Israel will grant residency or citizenship to the Palestinians living in Area C. Bennett claims that they are 50,000, but Haaretz says there are at least 100,000 more. Bennett says that granting citizenship to these Palestinians will not threaten the Jewish majority, but will somehow protect Israel from the accusation of “apartheid.”

  • No Palestinians whatsoever will be allowed to enter the West Bank, what Bennett calls “Judea and Samaria,” from outside. In contrast to various “two-state solution” plans, Palestinian refugees would not even be allowed back to the West Bank. “Descendants of the refugees should be absorbed into the countries where they currently reside,” the plan says, “and will not be allowed to move west of the Jordan River.”

  • Israeli occupation forces – the so-called “IDF” – will maintain “a strong presence in, and complete security control over, Judea & Samaria.”

  • Gaza will be completely cut off from the rest of Palestine and Palestinians will not be allowed to move between it and the West Bank – again much the situation that exists now – and the “burden” of Gaza will be “passed to Egypt” permanently.

The world will have to live with it

Bennett shrugs that the world will not accept Israel’s formal annexation of the West Bank:

The world will not recognize our claim to sovereignty, as it does not recognize our sovereignty over the Western Wall, the Ramot and Gilo neighborhoods of Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. Yet eventually the World will adjust to the de facto reality.

Given the indulgence and complicity Israel receives currently from the United States, the European Union and other sponsors, Bennett may be forgiven for this optimistic assessment.

Like Netanyahyu, Bennett believes that “investment” and economic peace will pacify the indigenous Palestinian majority so that they will accept perpetual subjugation to their settler overlords. Bennett calls his plan “fresh ideas,” but what’s fresh about apartheid enforced by an even more brutal occupation?

No forces within Zionism can stop this. Time for more BDS

Writing on Open Zion, Shaul Magid believes that if Bennett is as successful as predicted it will place the United States and American Jews before a choice:

No more evasive language. The Jewish/Israel lobby will have to throw away its handbook. Its slogans will become obsolete. Bennett’s Israel does not want peace. It is not waiting for the other side to denounce violence. Two states? That was something from the last century. One state? Yes, but not one many American Jews will feel proud of. And not one the U.S. government will easily support.

Magid also thinks Bennett is the last chance to shake the Israeli “left” out of its stupor.

But this is vain. Many people thought the rise of Ariel Sharon more than a decade ago would place the United States and the Zionist organizations who claim to speak for American Jews before a similar choice. Well it did, and they chose Sharon, who is now looked on with fondness and “yearning” by Rabbi Eric Yoffie, a very prominent allegedly “liberal” Zionist.

Magid should not underestimate the ability of committed Zionists to justify just about anything when it comes to oppressing Palestinians.

The Bennett phenomenon is simply more evidence that there are no internal forces within Zionism that can stop this descent to hell. Bennett’s rise is merely a reminder that efforts to isolate this pariah regime through boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) and other forms of pressure and struggle are more urgent than ever.





every one of Zionist hasbara "arguments" was used by aparteid

The first of these was the historical myth that white South Africans had a moral claim to the major portion of the country since most of the land was unoccupied when they moved into the interior. Those areas called the 'homelands' were the only parts occupied by Africans and that was why they were being granted 'independence'. It came as a shock to find out that in fact all of the country had been occupied by Africans for hundreds if not thousands of years prior to the arrival of the Europeans and that the history of the settlers was a history of plunder and death, a process continuing to this day.

The second myth, which flowed from the first, was that there were no majorities in South Africa - only a number of minorities. There were the Whites, Coloureds, Indians, Zulus, Xhosas, Sothos, Tswanas - 13 'ethnic groups' in all. Each of the African 'tribes' was different to the next and all antagonistic to the other. No group could claim a right to South Africa - it was a 'multi-national' country.

Once the colonial principle of divide and rule was understood, this myth fell flat on its face. Why did Africans have to be sub-divided into numerous linguistic/cultural groups while the whites were one homogeneous entity despite the fact that they were also divided linguistically and culturally?

The next was the myth that South Africa's blacks were the most well-off blacks on the continent and that the government was doing more for them than any black government in Africa was doing for its citizens. The total meaninglessness and irrelevance of this claim, which was brought up every time apartheid was criticised, was exposed when it was realised that this was no more than a ruse to deflect attention from apartheid onto some allegedly worse case elsewhere.

And so on.


Don't get me wrong the israeli behavior is unconscionable and it's getting very close to apartheid. But their central claim is that of security and only being 9 miles wide at most populice point. Its not these other arguments that have been brought up. SA never had suicide bombers and they were a very large country.I bring this up because if you don't acknowledge that then you won't ever be able to combat the US view of the situation. Also the absolutist angry propaganda doesn't sit well in the US. It reminds people of what in fact Islamists are found of saying post violence and it scares people.


their crimes. To call spade a spade is a right thing to do, ANC was using violence against SA aparteid, the size of the SA is irrelevant, and the words about "islamists" are just hard to make any sense of. Yes, Zionism is an aparteid, just reread the quotation.


The ANC most certainly was not using violence against apartheid. They were using violence against white violence. They were always very explicit that once the whites agreed to stop using violence the ANC would switch to non-violent means. The ANC wanted to political discussion within South Africa about how to justly govern the country to occur peacefully. In theory had the whites agreed to forgo violence yet kept the apartheid legal system intact the ANC would have been committed to a civil rights struggle not a violent struggle.


The ANC's adoption of armed struggle was not a question of the ends justifying the means. The history of South Africa quite clearly demonstrated to us the complete futility in opposing white minority rule by peaceful means alone. The ANC had for nearly fifty years striven by peaceful means to resist white domination yet every manifestation of peaceful resistance, whether it took the form of protests, demonstrations, boycotts or strikes, whether it was passive or defiant, was put down by the authorities with the utmost brutality and bloodshed. Thousands had died in the attempt to advance their rights or protect the few they had. Each campaign of action against the white rulers had been answered with new and increasingly harsh 'security laws', detentions, torture, imprisonment, bannings, banishments and death. How much more violent would the regime get when it saw that the demands of the oppressed went beyond demands for human rights and for the complete eradication of the system of white minority rule - for state power?

Peaceful resistance had led nowhere. Instead of halting or slowing down the implementation of the regime's apartheid laws, the apartheid rulers had enforced them with increasing vigour and barbarity. The laws were inherently violent in themselves: millions had been forcibly removed from their homes and dumped in the impoverished bantustans where they died of starvation and disease; urban black populations had been herded into insanitary townships on the outskirts of the white cities; millions had been arrested and imprisoned under the pass laws; families had been split up in the interests of 'racial purity'; the black population had been denied proper education; patriots had been tortured and imprisoned or driven into exile...


So, it WAS about "opposing white minority rule" i.e. aparteid


A few misc. comments.

First, Habayit Hayehudi (your home) is already popular with people in the diaspora. Naftali Bennett is as you mention the son of immigrants from California. Habayit Hayehudi is achieving its success in many ways by feeling much more like an American political party.

Israeli parties generally aim for a niche of Israeli society often by targeting large chunks to be in opposition to. So for example in this campaign Meretz is targeting leftists with identity politics designed to appeal to the niche that doesn't like centrist parties. Shas is targetting traditionalists and of course is explicitly Sephardic. Kadima is targeting defense hawks. Yahadut HaTorah HaMeukhedet (United torah Judaism) targets the ultra orthodox.

Habayit Hayehudi is offering a compromise vision of what a united Israeli society could look like that doesn't have the divisive politics of the last few decades. Policies that could pull Israelis much closer and end many of the frustrations and frictions that the other parties base their success on. He's able to pull in votes from both the Haredi and the Secularists because he is offering a vision for peace between Haredi and Secularists subculture. Slogans like "no matter where you live or how you dress this is your home" (which how you dress means how religious you are).

And part of the unity is a focus on a much stronger outreach and integration into the Jewish life of the diaspora. A leadership role that American Jews would love Israel to exercise. Also in a country constantly hit with corruptions scandals, Bennett is personally wealthy and thus unlikely to fall for the petty bribery / corruption charges that hit many of the middle class people who achieve high office in Israel.

Bennett has got to prove himself in a major ministry but Bennett's overall vision is already popular.


We should call for more Naftali Bennetts to rise to this glorious occasion when, as we always believed, the rot will start eating Isarel's soul from the inside and when its Western allies will have to explain to their electorates how and why they have been supporting this charade for over six decades.