Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will continue to be responsible for Israel’s strategy in confronting the Iranian threat even after his rotation for the premiership with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, sources close to the prime minister confirmed on Monday.
Lapid is supposed to become prime minister in August 2023, according to the terms of the coalition agreement. At that time, Bennett is supposed to get the Interior Ministry portfolio, and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked would go to the Justice Ministry, replacing Gideon Sa’ar, who would become foreign minister instead of Lapid.
Skepticism abounds in the current government as to whether the rotation will actually take place.
One of the areas of the rotation often mentioned as less plausible is that Bennett would go from being prime minister to interior minister. Having him retain responsibility for a major area of national security, as first reported on Channel 12, would address that.
Bennett has presided over a new strategy for combating the Iranian threat. In February, he compared Iran to an octopus, sending its tentacles, or proxies, to wreak havoc throughout the Middle East.
“The campaign to weaken Iran has begun,” Bennett said. “This campaign is in all dimensions: nuclear, economic, cyber, open and secret actions, alone and in cooperation with others. The weaker Iran is, the weaker its proxies are. The hungrier the octopus is, the more its tentacles shrivel.”
This strategy will remain in effect regardless of whether world powers sign a nuclear agreement with Iran, he said in a speech at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, because “even with an agreement, we think the Iranians will continue to be the Iranians.”
“If an agreement is signed and the flow of dollars is renewed, we all understand Iranian aggression will only increase in the region,” Bennett said.