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Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, poses for a portrait at his office in the central Israel city of Petah Tikva, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013.

Naftali Bennett

Israeli Politician who has led the right-wing religious The Jewish Home party since 2012. He has served as Israel's Minister of Education since 2015 and Minister of Diaspora Affairs since 2013

Naftali Bennett was born in 1972 to American Jewish immigrants and was raised in Haifa, where he attended Yavne Yeshiva High School in Haifa. In the army Bennett served in the elite Sayeret Matkal and Maglan units. As a Major in the reserves, Bennett is in charge of selection camps (Gibbush) for potential Sayeret Matkal…

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Naftali Bennett was born in 1972 to American Jewish immigrants and was raised in Haifa, where he attended Yavne Yeshiva High School in Haifa. In the army Bennett served in the elite Sayeret Matkal and Maglan units. As a Major in the reserves, Bennett is in charge of selection camps (Gibbush) for potential Sayeret Matkal recruits. Following his IDF service, Bennett received a Law degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In 1999 Bennett co-founded “Cyota” – an anti-fraud software company – and served as its CEO. The company was sold in 2005 to RSA Security for $145 million, but a stipulation of the deal allowed the Israeli arm of Cyota to remain intact. As a result, some 400 Israelis are employed at the company’s Israeli offices in Beersheba and Herzliya.

In 2005 Bennett was appointed Chief of Staff of then-opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu. In this capacity, he was among those who drafted Netanyahu’s educational reform plan. He also ran Netanyahu’s successful primary campaign to lead the Likud party in August 2007. In January 2010, Bennett was appointed as the director-general of the Yesha Council and led the campaign to annul the settlement moratorium in Jewish communities located in Judea and Samaria. During that time he founded the “My Israel” movement with Ayelet Shaked. The movement, which combats delegitimization attempts, post-Zionist organizations, and anti-Israel boycotts, won the Media Criticism Award in 2012 for its work.

In 2012 “Forbes Israel” included Bennett on its list of Israeli millionaires graded by their ranking in elite IDF units. That same year, his book “Exit” was published. The book is meant to help Israeli high-tech entrepreneurs and encourage education for entrepreneurship in business and education.

In November 2012, Bennett was elected as the leader of the HaBayit HaYehudi party, which won 12 Knesset seats in the 2013 elections. Following the elections, Bennett was appointed Minister of the Economy, Minister of Religious Services and Minister of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs in the new government. He was also appointed as a member of the Political-Security Cabinet and chairman of the Ministerial Committee on the Cost of Living.

In January 2015, Bennett was re-elected as head of HaBayit HaYehudi, receiving 90% of the votes in the party primaries held prior to the general elections for the 20th Knesset. In the general elections, his party won eight seats in parliament. Bennett was appointed Education Minister and Minister for Diaspora Affairs in the government established by Benjamin Netanyahu.

As an English-speaker, Bennett regularly explains the State of Israel’s positions to the foreign media.

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