Meet Gilat Bennett, the wife of Israel's new prime minister

She grew up secular, yet married the observant Naftali Bennett at 22. She is a right-wing ideologue, but clashed with Sarah Netanyahu. Everything you need to know about the new PM's wife

Right-wing chairman and candidate for prime minister, Naftali Bennett, now votes in Raanana accompanied by his wife Gilat (photo credit: ARIEL ZANDBERG)
Right-wing chairman and candidate for prime minister, Naftali Bennett, now votes in Raanana accompanied by his wife Gilat
(photo credit: ARIEL ZANDBERG)
Incumbent Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s wife, Gilat, was born in Jerusalem in 1977 to a secular family and grew up in Kfar Uriya. She attended the Hebrew University Secondary School (Leyada) for high school, served in the IDF as an educational NCO at the Paratroopers Memorial Site and later studied French cuisine. She is currently a confectioner, a guide and an educator on parenting.
Here is a glimpse into the life of the prime minister’s wife.

Childhood


Gilat grew up in Moshav Kfar Uriya, near Beit Shemesh. Her parents and family are secular. She attended Leyada and served in the Paratroopers Brigade as an educational NCO. There, as a 20-year-old, she met Naftali Bennett, then a student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a reserve officer in the Maglan commando unit, when she invited him to lecture to the soldiers.

Family


Gilat, 22, and Naftali, 27, were married a year later. “I was the only one among my friends who was married at 22,” Gilat said. “But Naftali was observant, so there was no choice.” The couple initially lived in Jerusalem and then moved to a settlement in the West Bank. They currently live in Ra’anana and have four children: Yoni, David, Avigail and Michal.

Career


Gilat studied culinary arts at the French Culinary Institute in New York and became a pastry chef. She completed her studies during the years that Naftali worked at Cyota, a hi-tech start-up. She also studied parental counseling at the Adler Institute and today works mostly in this capacity. Bennett herself was a parent who often sought out professional guidance and wanted to pass on her knowledge to others, she told the nrg news site.

Opinions


Gilat Bennett is known, along with her husband, as a right-wing ideologue. On a number of occasions, she made comments against former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In 2019, she wrote that Netanyahu was corrupt, accusing him of being unable to take on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. She also harshly criticized him during the coronavirus pandemic, saying he was leading the nation to an “economic Holocaust.”
Sara Netanyahu was said to have searched for information to smear Gilat, according to reports. A number of news items appeared with Bennett dressed “indecently,” wearing spaghetti-strap tops and tight-fitting pants, even though she had proclaimed in 2016 that she was observant. In addition, the Prime Minister’s Office under Netanyahu disseminated the rumor that Bennett had worked as a pastry chef in a restaurant that served nonkosher food.
Gilat Bennett also sparred with attorney and current Religious Zionist Party MK Itamar Ben-Gvir. Ben-Gvir sued Bennett for NIS 250,000 for libel after she wrote on Facebook that his followers’ behavior was “criminal and disgusting.” They settled their dispute out of court.
Gilat has remained indifferent to these clashes. “This is politics, and there is nothing that can be done,” she said. She does not have a connection to newly appointed Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who is considered Naftali’s “work friend,” according to mutual friends.