AP NEWS

Israeli Cabinet OKs hard-liner Bennett as defense minister

November 10, 2019
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu center, Foreign Minister Israel Katz, left, and the government secretary Tzachi Braverman, attend the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (Abir Sultan/Pool via AP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu center, Foreign Minister Israel Katz, left, and the government secretary Tzachi Braverman, attend the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (Abir Sultan/Pool via AP)

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli Cabinet has approved hard-line politician Naftali Bennett as defense minister in the country’s caretaker government.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed Bennet, with whom he has a rocky relationship, last week.

Netanyahu appears to be trying to shore up support among his right-wing base. He’s hoping to block attempts by his chief rival, Benny Gantz, to form Israel’s next government.

The Cabinet voted Sunday for Bennett to become defense minister until a permanent government takes hold.

Gantz is in the process of trying to cobble together a majority coalition after inconclusive elections in September. Netanyahu had the first try at forming a government, but failed.

Bennett, who leads the New Right party, has demanded tougher military action against militants in Gaza.