Gilat Bennett is the newest First Lady of Israel. She grew up secular, yet married the observant Naftali Bennett at the age of 22. Gilat Bennett is a right-wing ideologue, but clashed with Sarah Netanyahu, wife of Israel’s former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
According to Maariv Online, incumbent Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s wife Gilat was born in Jerusalem in 1977 to a secular family and grew up in Kfar Uriah. She attended the Hebrew University Secondary School (Leyada) for high school, served in the IDF as an educational NCO at the Paratroopers Memorial Site and later studied French cuisine. She is currently a confectioner as well as a guide and educator on parenting.
As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been the longest serving head of the government of the Jewish State, immediately after Naftali Bennett, with the help of an 8-party coalition, which comprises Arab anti-Semitic party staged a parliamentary coup and became the prime minister, media has hunger for knowing about Israel’s newest first lady.
Here is a glimpse into the life of the prime minister’s wife.
Gilat grew up in Moshav Kfar Uriah, close to Beit Shemesh. Her parents and family are secular. She attended Leyada and served in the Paratroopers Brigade as an educational NCO. There, as a 20-year-old, she met Naftali Bennett, then a student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a reserve officer in the Maglan commando unit, when she invited him to lecture to the soldiers.
Gilat, 22, and Naftali, 27, were married a year later. Gilat has said that “I was the only one among my friends who was married at 22, but Naftali was observant, so there was no choice.” The couple initially lived in Jerusalem, and then moved to a settlement in the West Bank. They currently live in Ra’anana, and have four children: Yoni, David, Avigail and Michal.
Bennett studied culinary arts at a French Culinary Institute in New York and became a pastry chef. She completed her studies during the years that Naftali worked at the hi-tech start-up Cyota. She also studied parental counseling at the Adler Institute, and today works mostly in this capacity. In a special interview on NRG, Bennett revealed that she herself was a parent who often sought out professional guidance, and therefore wanted to pass on her knowledge to others.
Gilat Bennett is known, along with her husband, as a right-wing ideologue. On a number of occasions, she made comments against former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In 2019, she even wrote that Netanyahu was corrupt, accusing him of being unable to take on Hamas in Gaza. She also harshly criticized him during the coronavirus pandemic, saying that Netanyahu was leading the nation to an “economic Holocaust.”
In the past, reports indicated that Sara Netanyahu, the wife of the outgoing prime minister, had searched for problematic information in order to smear Gilat. A number of news items appeared with Bennett dressed “indecently,” wearing spaghetti-strap tops and tight-fitting pants, even though she had proclaimed in 2016 that she was observant. In addition, the former PM’s office spread the word that Bennett had worked as a pastry chef in a restaurant that served non-kosher food.
Bennett also sparred with attorney and current Religious Zionist Party MK
Itamar Ben-Gvir, a battle that nearly ended up in court. Ben-Gvir sued Bennett for NIS 250,000 for libel, after she wrote on Facebook that the behavior of the MK’s followers was “criminal and disgusting.” The two settled the dispute outside the court.
Gilat has remained indifferent to these clashes, saying that “this is politics, and there is nothing that can be done.” In addition, for those who are interested, she does not have a connection to newly appointed Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked – who, according to mutual friends, is considered Naftali’s “work friend.”
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