Netanyahu Appoints Hard-liner Bennett As Defense Minister

    FILE - Education Minister Naftali Bennet shakes hands with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the plenary session of the opening day of the winter session at the Knesset, on october 15, 2018. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90

    JERUSALEM (AP) – Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed hard-line politician Naftali Bennett as defense minister in his caretaker government.

    Ayelet Shaked of Bennett’s New Right party, a former justice minister, confirmed on Friday that the party accepted the defense portfolio for Bennett.

    The appointment will need the government’s approval. Netanyahu’s Cabinet is to meet on Sunday.

    The move appears aimed at shoring up opposition to attempts by Netanyahu’s chief rival, Benny Gantz, to form Israel’s next government.

    Gantz is in the process of trying to cobble majority coalition after inconclusive elections in September and after Netanyahu had the first go but failed to put together a government.

    Bennett has in the past called for tougher military action against Gaza militants. Until now, Netanyahu has also held the post of defense minister.

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