Israel hours away from establishing its 'most far-right government'

Israel hours away from establishing its 'most far-right government'
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's cabinet have approved the appointment of a far-right, anti-Palestinian lawmaker - Avigdor Lieberman - as defence minister.
2 min read
Lieberman has been attacked for attacked for anti-Palestinian comments [Getty]

Israel is on the verge of having a new far-right, rabidly anti-Palestinian defence minister after cabinet approved the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman to take charge of the country's military.

Lieberman could become defence minister, and the move comes as France tries to organise fresh peace talks between Palestinian and Israeli officials.

The far-right Israeli politician is know for his anti-Palestinian views. He once called for the beheading of Palestinian citizens of Israel. Now Lieberman is braced to take charge of Israeli's key military post ending hopes for fresh negotiations.

Another religious nationalist party Jewish Home had threatened to block the inclusion of Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu to government, but Netanyahu appears to have defused opposition to the coalition.

"The cabinet unanimously approved the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as minister of defence," a statement from Netanyahu's office said.

Yisrael Beitenu's Sofa Landver was also approved as minister of immigrant absorption.

The deal is expected to be approved by parliament later on Monday, and the new ministers will then take their oaths of office.

Also part of the reshuffle is veteran Likud MP Tzachi Hanegbi, chairman of parliament's foreign affairs and defence committee, would become a minister without portfolio.

Netanyahu and Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett reached a compromise on Sunday night after mediation by a third party, a Likud statement said.

Jewish Home holds eight parliamentary seats, enough to block Netanyahu's proposed new line-up.

If - or when - the parliament approves the appointment of the new ministers it would create "the most right-wing government in Israel's history", analysts have said.

The cabinet unanimously approved the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as minister of defence.
- Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office

Jewish Home had demanded the creation of a military liaison for the government's security cabinet, a smaller forum of cabinet members which decides on matters of national security.

Bennett says such a post is needed to avoid security cabinet members being kept in the dark on important developments.

Under the compromise - brokered by Health Minister Yaakov Litzman of the United Torah Judaism alliance of ultra-Orthodox parties - security cabinet members will receive frequent personal briefings from Israel's National Security Council as an interim measure, while a committee of experts looks at ways to improve procedure.