Netanyahu appoints himself defense minister; Bennett, Shaked set to announce resignations

The Israeli prime minister declared he will assume the defense minister position temporarily, with early elections appearing imminent according to some.

By World Israel News Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Sunday he will take over temporarily as defense minister following the departure of Avigdor Liberman from the post last week.

Meanwhile, early elections loom as Netanyahu’s Knesset coalition crumbles over the Jewish state’s approach to threats emanating from the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip.

Since March, Hamas has staged violent riots on the border, launched massive rocket attacks on Israel, and embarked on a near daily arson terror campaign using airborne incendiary devices carried by kites, balloons, and even a bird of prey. The arson terror alone has caused millions of dollars of damage, destroying thousands of acres of Israeli farmland and nature preserves.

The combined effect of these tactics has left residents of Israel’s south traumatized and the entire nation seeking a clearer vision for Israel’s strategy to address threats posed by Hamas and other Gaza terror groups, such as Islamic Jihad.

Netanyahu’s decision to appoint himself interim defense minister represents a response to cabinet member Naftali Bennett’s demand that he be installed in the position, contradicting earlier reports on Sunday by Israel’s Channel 13 that Netanyahu was prepared to give the Jewish Home Party chairman the position.

On Wednesday, Bennett’s party officially demanded that he receive the defense portfolio.

Addressing a press conference on Sunday evening, Netanyahu commented that there was “no place for politics” in the Jewish state’s security policy.

“I know what to do and when to do it,” he added.

According to Hadashot TV news, Naftali Bennett and fellow Jewish Home minister Ayelet Shaked will announce their resignations from the government on Monday, with the two set to provide a statement to the press in the morning.