The Duke Center for Jewish Studies, with Jewish Life at Duke and the Program American Grand Strategy, present a special conversation with former Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett.
Naftali Bennett became Israel's 13th Prime Minister in 2021 leading the most diverse government in the nation's history.
The government headed by Prime Minister Bennett - included Left & Right, religious and secular, and for the time in Israel's history, an Arab party in the coalition. Prime Minister Bennett's government delivered rapid results in a one-year period including: bringing the quietest year to Israel's residents along the Gaza border and the Negev, overcoming a wave of terror, passing a reform-packed budget, successfully dealing with two waves of COVID, moving the conflict with Iran to its own soil, and reducing unemployment and the national deficit to record lows.
Following the historic Abraham Accords, Bennett became the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Before moving into politics, Bennett enjoyed a successful career as a hi-tech entrepreneur. In 1999, he co-founded the information security company Cyota with three partners and served as CEO until the company was sold in 2005 to RSA for $145 million. In 2009, Bennett served as CEO of Soluto, a cloud computing start-up, which was later sold to Asurion for $130 million.
Throughout his decade in Israeli politics Bennett served as on to serve as Minister of Economy, Minister of Education and Minister of Defense, and is known for his innovations and bold reforms.
Bennett served as a combat soldier in Sayeret Matkal and as a Company Commander in the Maglan Special Forces Unit, where he commanded a series of operations in Lebanon behind enemy lines. During the Second Intifada in 2002, Bennett took a hiatus from his duties as at Cyota CEO to join Operation "Defensive Shield and in 2006 he commanded search and destroy missions during the Second Lebanon War.
Bennett lives in Ra'anana is married to Gilat and has four young children.
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