Middle East Monitor / November 16, 2022
The American administration of President Joe Biden has asked Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu not to appoint Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich as Defence minister, Israeli media reported.
Netanyahu, the Times of Israel reported, told Smotrich that he would not be given the job in the next government, citing American concerns over the possible disruption to cooperation with Biden’s administration. Instead, the post would be held by someone in Netanyahu’s Likud Party.
Walla news reported that Smotrich had told Netanyahu that he would want authority related to settlements and the Israeli army’s Civil Administration in the occupied West Bank.
Netanyahu told 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.
At the same time, 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 occupation army have also expressed their concern about the possibility of the appointment of extremist Smotrich because he lacks experience, knowledge, or authority to deal with the ministry.