Full of back-stories and color, as New Yorker articles must be, we wondered about the bottom line motives for this write-up. Our inquiry to a religious friend in Ra'anana asking whether he knows Bennett brought this response, "Bennett lives a couple of blocks away, but I do not know him nor have I ever met him. I am not sure that I have even seen him. He lives a minute away from another big shot, Yakov Amidror who is Netanyahu’s personal National Security Advisor... Bennett has made a big splash, although I haven’t a clew why."
I suppose Remnick went over to Ra'anana ostensibly to find out if and why Bennett matters. In the process he gives us this color with a surprising and strange local comparison:
...Bennett’s house is large, modern, filled with sunlight. He and his wife have four children, ranging in age from six months to seven years. There were toys and strollers scattered everywhere, and open packages of Huggies. The place didn’t have the ascetic feel of a settler outpost: there was a Viking stove, a Nespresso machine, laptops, flat-screen TVs. This was the style of the bourgeois pioneer.In effect this long combined profile and history lesson in New Yorker boosts Bennett's influence. So now we muse, Why would a left-leaning writer want to do that? Remnick seems to tell us why at the close of his essay:
Finally, Bennett came in. We made coffee and went out to the green back yard to talk. More toys, a barbecue. I’d heard people compare Ra’anana to Englewood, New Jersey—prosperous, good schools, close to the city—and it felt that way, but with better weather...
...And so this is the moment of Naftali Bennett. I’ve rarely seen a novice politician so confident, and with such reason. Each day, he is climbing in the polls, skimming off votes from the Likud and Netanyahu...You see the simple and overt Talmudic logic. Boost the more radical one to split the rightists and thereby to help the left.
Postscript: Wait just a sec. Isn't that why and how the radical rightist party Hamas came to power in Palestinian politics? Americans and Israelis thought that boosting them would split and weaken the Palestinian cause. Hmm, maybe that is not such a good logic after all. We believe that divide-and-conquer is not such a good strategy. You just end up shooting-yourself-in-the-foot.
An op-ed in the Daily Beast, "Why I Like Naftali Bennett," by Shaul Magid, spells this thinking out in another roundabout way.