After the deadly conflict between Israel and Palestine that lasted for 11 days killing more than 250 Palestinians and thirteen people from Israel, the political tussle started just after it. Benjamin Netanyahu was defeated by a laser-thin-margin of 60–59 by Naftali Benett. The world knows about the special relations India shares with Israel. Everyone is anxious to know about the future of India-Israel relations keeping in mind the response of India during the days of the conflict. During the conflict too, the whole media was split into two — supporters of Palestine and supporters of Israel. In India, it could be easily seen that the right-wing was with Israel and the left-wing with Palestine. The left-wing criticised the actions of Israel a lot and demanded the resignation of Netanyahu. So, Naftali Bennett putting an end to Netanyahu’s longest term of 12 years was a gleeful moment.

Who is Naftali Bennett?

If I had to compare Naftali Bennet with an Indian politician, it would be UPs CM Yogi Adityanath. Yes, Naftali Bennet is an ‘ultranationalist’, more than Netanyahu. Thus, the left-wing who was happy about the resignation of Netanyahu should hold their tears for some more such moments because Naftali is even more right of the outgoing Netanyahu. Naftali Bennett served as Finance Minister (2013–2015), Diaspora Affairs Minister (2013–2019) that is the equivalent of External Affairs Minister in India, and Minister of Defence (2019–2020).

The best thing that has happened post-2017 regarding the India-Israel relations is that India has imported a diverse range of missiles including Beyond Visual Range Air-To-Air Missile (BVRAAM), guided bombs, and Surface-To-Air (SAM) missiles. This close relationship leading to a heavy arms deal of $767 million between the two countries and that too when Neftali Bennet was defence minister, gives a hint that under Prime Ministership more such deals will be cracked.

The Response of India During the Conflict

India has always proposed a two-state solution to end the historic conflict between Israel and Palestine. But the two-state solution was never acceptable to Netanyahu and not even Naftali Bennett. Therefore, the response of India advocating for the two-state solution might become a bone of contention between the two countries. Personalities do matter in international relations but at the end of the day, national interests prevail. And the national interests of both Israel and India at the moment demand continuity in relations guided by the desire for mutual benefits.

If you think that the political turmoil has come to an end, then it’s not! Do you think Netanyahu will keep mum and just see Neftali ruling? This whole scenario in Israel reminds me of the political condition in India during 1977 when the entire opposition took shelter under the banner of the Janata Party and ousted PM Indira Gandhi, but it fell down within a couple of years. Indeed, politics makes strange bedfellows. Will, the new government be able to survive long enough, is the new question?

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