Netanyahu says he is in charge, Israel will not be run by Talmudic law

Incoming Israeli government will look to avoid 'inflammatory' defense policies, Netanyahu told journalist Bari Weiss on Wednesday.

 BENJAMIN NETANYAHU speaks to the media in Tel Aviv, last week. Will he bow out of Israeli politics this year?  (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU speaks to the media in Tel Aviv, last week. Will he bow out of Israeli politics this year?
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

Prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu's new government will not run Israel according to Talmudic law, and will look to avoid any "inflammatory" defense policies, the Likud leader stressed in an interview given on Bari Weiss' Honestly podcast released on Wednesday.

In the podcast, Netanyahu attempted to quash concerns over his incoming government, assuring that his government will not infringe on the rights of minorities in Israel or the LGBTQ+ community

"I have often heard these doom projections, but none of them materialized," he told Weiss. "I maintained Israel's democratic nature, traditions...this Israel is not going to be governed by Talmudic law...we are not going to ban LGBTQ+ forums. 

"My view on that is sharply different" from his coalition partners, Netanyahu stated.

Netanyahu: Gov't won't be led by its radical elements

 L: Otzma Yehudit leader MK Itamar Ben Gvir. R: Likud leader, former-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV) L: Otzma Yehudit leader MK Itamar Ben Gvir. R: Likud leader, former-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

Netanyahu further stressed that his government will not be governed by the radical elements within it when asked about the legitimacy of controversial Otzma Yehudit leader and right-wing lawmaker MK Itamar Ben-Gvir's inclusion in the government and the security cabinet.

The prime minister-designate defended Ben-Gvir, stating that "his eligibility to be a coalition member and a minister was determined by none other than the [High Court of Justice]...If they didn't he would not be here."

Ben-Gvir, who is poised to become Israel's first national security minister, recently sparked controversy after outgoing government officials accused him of politicizing the IDF when he voiced his support for the soldiers punished for beating and hurling abuse at left-wing activists in Hebron last week.

Netanyahu tweeted on Wednesday morning that the Israeli military is the "people's army," and that all politicians "should refrain from including it in any political argument."

"The main policy of the government is determined by the Likud and, frankly, by me," Netanyahu said in the interview. "We are going to remain a country of laws."

Netanyahu 'trying to avoid' inflammatory policies

The former prime minister also confirmed reports from earlier in November that claimed Netanyahu was warned by American officials to not hand the Defense Ministry to "smaller parties," referring to MK Bezalel Smotrich's Religious Zionists Party and Otzma Yehudit.

"People said, 'you're going to give up the defense department to one of these smaller parties,' they were very worried about it," Netanyahu told Weiss. "I said that's not going to happen."

Israel's defense policies must be led by the Likud, Netanyahu further stressed. "That is a red line."

"Defense is not merely what you think it is. It is not merely preventing incoming missiles," he explained. "It is also deciding on policies that could be quite inflammatory," Netanyahu stated, adding that he is "trying to avoid that."

"That is a red line"

Prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu on Israeli defense policy

Trump's antisemitic dinner a "mistake," Bibi says

Finally, the prime minister-designate also discussed former US president Donald Trump's dinner with white supremacist Nick Fuentes at his Mar-a-Lago resort, which Trump called "inadvertent."

Trump's decision to dine with Fuentes, a move that has also garnered condemnations from Trump's own Republican party, was "wrong and misplaced," Netanyahu told the podcast.

"I think it's a mistake...he shouldn't do that," Netanyahu added. "You know, he's been very supportive of the Jewish people. So I think he made a mistake."

Netanyahu previously defended Trump from antisemitism claims in an October MSNBC interview after former president threatened on his Truth Social app that "ungrateful" American Jews should "get their acts together and appreciate what they have in Israel."