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In 2018, Naftali Bennett, who was then Israel’s minister for diaspora affairs, rushed to Tel Aviv airport when he learned of a mass shooting in Pittsburgh where an extremist gunned down 11 people in a synagogue.
Hours later, he found himself sitting in the synagogue next to its heartbroken liberal rabbi, Jeffrey Myers.
“He sat with the rabbi and they cried together about their brethren who had been shot in their place of worship just twelve hours earlier,” a close confidant of Mr Bennett told The Telegraph.
“For people abroad, they may see Naftali Bennett as this one-dimensional character, as a so-called ultra-nationalist,” he said.
"But I would judge him by his actions rather than his words, and one of the most telling examples was his response to Pittsburgh.”
To his critics, Mr Bennett is Benjamin Netanyahu’s “Mini-me,” a former commando who once boasted about his skills in killing Arabs and who dreams of expanding Israel’s settlements in the West Bank.
But close allies of the man who became Israel's new prime minister on June 13 insist he has a softer side which leaves him well-placed to manage the conflicting demands of an unwieldy coalition.
It may be a tough sell.
In 2013, Mr Bennett infamously said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was something to be endured, and not resolved, comparing it to “shrapnel in the rear end.”
He reportedly boasted in 2013: “I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there’s no problem with that.”
He has more creative ways to express his strong feelings. In a wry parody of the liberal New York Times for a 2014 campaign video (below), Mr Bennett put on a fake beard, hat and glasses - a hipster disguise - and walked around Tel Aviv apologising to everyone he met.
The buffoonish video clip had a serious point, which was that Mr Bennett felt Israelis were being forced to constantly apologise for being Israeli, rather than proud of their national identity.
Palestinian leaders in the West Bank have branded Mr Bennett an "extreme Rightist" who would be no different from Mr Netanyahu.
As for his ambitions to annex swathes of the West Bank, which the Palestinians claim as their own land, Mr Bennett acknowledges that this will have to wait; his new coalition is paradoxically shaping up to be more Left wing than under Mr Netanyahu.
And while he may lead a more secular government, Mr Bennett, a modern Orthodox Jew, is to be the most religious prime minister in modern history, the first to wear a kippah outside of religious ceremonies.
The around-the-clock demands of serving as Israel’s leader mean he may no longer be able to keep Shabbat, the period of rest and worship from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday.
His wife, Gilat Bennett, a pastry chef, is a former secular but now observes shabbat and keeps kosher. They live with their four children in Ra’anana, a popular neighborhood for middle class emigres from the United States.
Mr Bennett's parents emigrated to Israel from America. His brother, Asher, lives in the UK where he is the CEO and founder of Chelmsford-based electric truck company Tevva.
Naftali himself is a self-made tech millionaire, with the sale of his anti-fraud tech firm giving him an estimated net worth of £6 million (dwarfed by Mr Netanyahu's £10 million).
As for his politics, Mr Bennett has always sat on the Right, but has shifted parties and was once a senior aide and close ally of Mr Netanyahu. He even named his eldest son after Mr Netanyahu's brother, Yoni, who was killed in an Israeli raid to free hijacked passengers at Uganda's Entebbe airport in 1976.
Mr Bennett and Mr Netanyahu even fought in the same special forces commando unit Sayeret Matkal, although not together. The two broke off their political marriage in 2006, reportedly on bad terms.
Mr Bennett faces his biggest political challenge yet if his government is voted in by the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, next week.
He will have to balance the conflicting demands of the Islamist party Ra’am alongside his own hawkish right-wing Yamina members, as well as the left-wing Meretz party and centrist leader Yair Lapid.
The presence of Ra’am is particularly significant as it is the first time a party representing Palestinian citizens of Israel has agreed to join an Israeli government. In the past, Arab parties have only supported such governments from the outside.
All factions insist that they are putting aside their differences to form a unity government, avoiding the dreaded fifth election in two years that would have to be called in the absence of a deal.
But Mr Bennett’s allies acknowledge that it will be extraordinarily difficult to keep all members of the coalition onboard.
“These are not natural coalition partners in any sense of the word, they are politically diverse and polarised,” said George Birnbaum, a political adviser to Mr Bennett.
“Israel is not a country where you have the luxury of setting aside contentious issues - those arise every day.”
Several sensitive concessions have already been promised to Ra’am, according to Israeli media reports, which are set to open rifts in the coalition before it is even sworn in.
They include talks on freezing a controversial law on illegal permits, which Arabs say is preventing construction in their communities. Despite signing on to the coalition, one member of the right-wing New Hope party has already denounced that request as “impossible.”
Ra’am, a socially conservative Islamic party, is also said to have demanded a freeze on pro-LGBT legislation.
Despite this, the Left-wing Meretz party claimed in an interview this week that the coalition hoped to strengthen Israel’s same-sex marriage laws, only for the plan to be shot down by Ra’am.
There are also few indications that the new coalition will attempt any new negotiations with Palestinian leaders in the West Bank, thought it may come under pressure to do so from President Joe Biden.
And as the coalition is finalised, Mr Netanyahu continues to explore every means possible that might delay the swearing-in ceremony or sink the government altogether.
The embattled prime minister held an emergency meeting with his allies on Thursday and has launched a frenetic bid to persuade key members of the coalition to switch sides.
As the end of the Netanyahu dynasty approaches, the man known as “Bibi” may succeed in pulling another rabbit out of his magic hat. It would not be the first time he has managed to dodge political oblivion.
“It will be big shoes to fill,” acknowledges Mr Birnbaum, who was also the lead strategist in Mr Bennett’s most recent election campaign.
“There will be growing pains for Naftali and the Israeli people, when that first test comes, but I see no reason why he would fail.”