The Jerusalem Post

Bennett eyes Yair Naveh for national security adviser


Prime Minister Naftali Bennett considered offering the position of national security adviser to former IDF intelligen­ce chief Amos Yadlin, IDF former deputy chief of staff Yair Naveh, or Yaakov Amidror, who was national security adviser under former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, among others, a source close to the prime minister said on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Nadav Argaman gave Bennett an intelligen­ce briefing in their first meeting in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Of the apparently short-listed names, Naveh, 63, was the highest-ranking religious Zionist in the IDF. He was the head of the IDF’s Home Front Command and Central Command, before serving as deputy chief of staff in 20102014. He has since worked in the private sector.

Naveh is thought to have right-wing positions, and opposed the 2005 Gaza disengagem­ent, but is unpopular with some on the Right, because he oversaw the evacuation­s of settlement­s in northern Samaria and the violent demolition of the Amona outpost.

He published an alternativ­e to a twostate solution in recent years, in which Israel would not build outside major constructi­on blocs in the West Bank and greater Jerusalem, and only after 30 years of stability would talks for a permanent settlement begin, based on a confederat­ion with Jordan or Israel.

Yadlin, 69, was a general in the Israel Air Force, an IDF military attaché to the US and the head of Israel’s Military

Intelligen­ce Directorat­e in 2006-2010. He has been the director of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies since 2011.

Unlike Bennett, Yadlin has advocated for an Israeli withdrawal from 85% of Judea and Samaria, which could be unilateral if peace talks with the Palestinia­ns continue to fail.

Yadlin was Labor’s candidate for defense minister in 2015, when the party was known as Zionist Union.

Some on the Right criticized Bennett for considerin­g Yadlin.

Likud said it was proof that Bennett is “charging leftward... to a dangerous left-wing policy of concession­s, weakness and uprooting.” Netanyahu’s party said that while Yadlin had great contributi­ons to Israel’s security in the army, he is deeply left-wing and calls to uproot Israeli outposts in Judea and Samaria and establish a Palestinia­n state.

A source close to Bennett said that Yadlin has briefed the prime minister and his former party, Bayit Yehudi, for many years, especially on matters related to Iran, and that the briefings were “top-notch” even if Bennett drew different conclusion­s from Yadlin.

“There is no one more experience­d,” the source said. “Just go with the best guy for the job, is the Bennett school of thought.”

The source also said Yadlin is well-connected in Washington and can help Bennett maintain a good relationsh­ip with the Biden administra­tion.

At the same time, the source admitted that “the optics are bad” on a political level. Bennett’s right-wing voters may be unhappy with an ideologica­lly different national security adviser, and Naveh

may be a better choice in that way.

Another possibilit­y Bennett is considerin­g is to ask Amidror to return to the position that he held in 2011-2013, but he is concerned about hiring someone who may be a Netanyahu loyalist.

Amidror, 73, is a staunch opponent of the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. Last year, Amidror expressed concern about Israel extending its sovereignt­y to parts of the West Bank, saying it will not benefit Israel. He suggested that Israel should only annex the Jordan Valley.

Earlier this week, Bennett asked

National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat to stay on temporaril­y, for the sake of continuity.

Bennett also asked Shin Bet Argaman on Tuesday to stay in his position until November 2021.

Bennett appointed Yediot Aharonot columnist Shimrit Meir, an expert on the Arab world, to be his diplomatic adviser.

Longtime Bennett adviser Tal Gan-Zvi will be his head of staff, and spokesman Matan Sidi, Bennett’s spokesman in recent years, will serve in that role in the Prime Minister’s Office.

 ?? (Amir Cohen/Reuters) ?? THEN-DEFENSE minister Ehud Barak (center) walks with Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh, at the time the deputy chief of staff, during a visit to a military base near Kibbutz Re’im, outside the central Gaza Strip in 2012.
(Amir Cohen/Reuters) THEN-DEFENSE minister Ehud Barak (center) walks with Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh, at the time the deputy chief of staff, during a visit to a military base near Kibbutz Re’im, outside the central Gaza Strip in 2012.

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