Washington ‘Suggests’ Netanyahu to Choose Ministers US Can Work With

As coalition negotiations over forming the government continues in Israel, the US government allegedly told the incoming Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to carefully consider his appointments to the defense and public security ministries.

According to reports in Israeli media, President Biden’s administration reportedly told Netanyahu to appoint politicians to the roles of defense minister and public security minister that the US government can work with, claiming it is not seeking to interfere in local politics but that it is a security issue.

Washington suggested the incoming PM needs to carefully consider who will be appointed to those positions in order for the security cooperation between Israel and the US to succeed.

Previously on Sunday, the religious Israeli Zionist Party issued a statement from a leading group of rabbis associated with the party calling Netanyahu to appoint its leader Bezalel Smotrich, who has been lobbying for the defense portfolio, to the position of Defense Minister.

The rabbis insisted that Smotrich could strengthen Israel’s safety, prevent the formation of a Palestinian state, and strengthen the spirit of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).

The position of Public Security Minister, meanwhile, has been targeted by Oztmah Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir, who has been previously condemned by the US for celebrating the legacy of a terrorist organization after he attended a rabbi Meir Kahane memorial.

Noting that the US remains concerned by the legacy of Kahane and the continued use of rhetoric among violent right-wing extremists, State Department’s spokesperson Ned Price said at the time that Ben-Gvir’s behavior was abhorrent.

According to Avigdor Liberman, Smotrich’s appointment as Defense Minister could harm Israel’s national security since it’ll jeopardize Israel’s cooperation with the Pentagon, which stressed after the elections their cooperation with offices headed by Ben-Gvir and Smotrich will be minimal.

Underscoring the importance of cooperation with the Pentagon in the most sensitive issues, Liberman noted that Netanyahu’s fully aware of the mess he’ll be in without it.

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