Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday offered New Right Party leader Naftali Bennett the spot of the country’s defense minister in a move perceived as a way to stop Bennet from joining a coalition led by the rival Blue and White Party.
New Right accepted the appointment, which will be voted on at the next cabinet meeting, according to the party.
“I am convinced this is correct for the State of Israel,” tweeted New Right co-leader Ayelet Shaked, who previously served as the Justice minister. She and Bennett, previously the education minister, were fired by Netanyahu after the April 9 general elections in which no coalition was formed, leading to a second round of elections on Sept. 17.
“Bennett agreed in the event that a new government is formed, such as a broad unity or a narrow [right-wing] government, another person will be appointed to the position of defense minister,” said Netanyahu’s Likud Party in a statement.
“Netanyahu continues to mortgage every position and every consideration to his bid for immunity,” tweeted senior Blue and White Party member Ofer Shelah, referring to Netanyahu’s efforts to avoid indictment in three corruption cases. “Is he afraid that Bennett will run away?”