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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appoints new Defence Minister

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Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed New Right party leader Naftali Bennett as the country’s new Defence Minister.

The premier’s Likud party said Netanyahu met Bennett on Friday, during which the former extended the offer. The appointment will be voted on at the next cabinet meeting, The Times of Israel reported. New Right accepted the offer, said party official Ayelet Shaked, adding that Netanyahu had offered it a choice of two smaller ministries, from Agriculture, Diaspora Affairs and Welfare, or just Defence.

Bennett and Shaked famously gave Netanyahu an ultimatum in 2018, threatening to pull out of his government if the New Right party leader was not appointed Defence Minister, but ultimately backed down. Bennett has relentlessly criticized the government’s handling of violence from Hamas-run Gaza, demanding a harsher response, both when he served in the coalition and subsequently. The current appointment is temporary. (IANS)

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