In 2018, Naftali Bennett, who was Israel's minister for diaspora affairs at the time, rushed to Tel Aviv airport when he learnt of a shooting in Pittsburgh where an extremist had shot 11 people in a synagogue.
Hours later, he found himself sitting in the synagogue next to Jeffrey Myers, its heartbroken liberal rabbi.
"He sat with the rabbi and they cried together about their brethren who had been shot in their place of worship just 12 hours earlier," a confidant of Bennett's told The Sunday Telegraph.
"For people abroad, they may see Naftali Bennett as this one-dimensional character, as a so-called ultranationalist," 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, 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 poised to become Israel's next prime minister 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, Bennett 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 the same year: "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, 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 had a serious point, which was that Bennett felt Israelis were being forced constantly to apologise for being Israeli, rather than proud of their national identity.
This week, Palestinian leaders in the West Bank predictably branded Bennett an "extreme Rightist" who would be no different from Netanyahu.
As for his ambitions to annex swaths of the West Bank, which the Palestinians claim as their own land, Bennett acknowledges that this will have to wait; his new coalition is paradoxically shaping up to be more Left wing than under Netanyahu.
And while he may lead a more secular government, Bennett, a modern Orthodox Jew, would be the most religious prime minister in modern history, the first to wear a kippah outside of religious ceremonies.
The round-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, a pastry chef, was formerly secular but now observes Shabbat and keeps kosher. They live with their four children in Ra'anana, a popular neighbourhood for middle-class émigrés from the United States.
Bennett's parents emigrated to Israel from America. His brother Asher lives in the UK, where he is the CEO and founder of Tevva, a Chelmsford-based electric-truck company.
Naftali himself is a self-made tech millionaire, with the sale of his anti-fraud tech firm giving him an estimated net worth of $11.8 million (dwarfed by Netanyahu's $19.6 million).
Bennett has always sat on the Right, but has shifted parties and was once a senior aide and close ally of Netanyahu's. He even named his elder son after Netanyahu's brother Yoni, who was killed in an Israeli raid to free hijacked passengers at Uganda's Entebbe Airport in 1976.
Bennett and Netanyahu even fought in the same special-forces commando unit, Sayeret Matkal, although not together. They broke off their political marriage in 2006, reportedly on bad terms.
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 Ra'am, the Islamist party, alongside his own hawkish Right-wing Yamina members, as well as the Left-wing Meretz party and Yair Lapid, the centrist leader.
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 supported such governments only 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 Bennett's allies acknowledge that it will be extraordinarily difficult to keep all members of the coalition on board.
"These are not natural coalition partners in any sense of the word; they are politically diverse and polarised," George Birnbaum, a political adviser to Bennett, said. "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 much-debated 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 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, though it may come under pressure to do so from Joe Biden, the US President.
And as the coalition is finalised, the embattled Netanyahu continues to explore every means possible that might delay the swearing-in ceremony or sink the government altogether.
He 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, "Bibi" may succeed in pulling another rabbit out of his hat. It would not be the first time he has managed to dodge political oblivion.
"It will be big shoes to fill," acknowledges Birnbaum, who was also the lead strategist in 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."