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Netanyahu appoints hard-liner Bennett as defence minister

JERUSALEM — Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed hard-line politician Naftali Bennett as defence 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 defence 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 defence minister.

The Associated Press