US Asks Netanyahu Not to Appoint Smotrich as Defense Minister

Leader of the far-right Religious Zionist party MK Bezalel Smotrich. (Photo: Atbannett, via Wikimedia Commons)

The American administration of President Joe Biden has asked Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu not to appoint Bezalel Smotrich as defense minister, Israeli media reported.

According to The Times of Israel, Netanyahu cited American concerns over the possible disruption to cooperation with Biden’s administration. Instead, the defense minister post would be held by someone in Netanyahu’s Likud Party.

Netanyahu reportedly told Religious Zionism leader Smotrich that Israel wanted to act moderately in terms of security and diplomacy for the rest of Biden’s term, especially in regard to the West Bank.

Smotrich said his party would not join the coalition if it did not commit to advancing the agenda for which it was elected, Walla reported.

Senior officers and generals in the Israeli army have also expressed their concern about the possibility of the appointment of extremist Smotrich.


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