World / Middle East

Israeli cabinet set to approve hard-line defense minister

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-05-30 17:00

JERUSALEM - The Israeli cabinet is set to approve the hard-line lawmaker Avigdor Lieberman as defense minister on Monday after a political crisis that threatened the move was solved.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett, leader of Jewish Home party, reached a settlement overnight to meet the latter's demand on changes to the security cabinet.

The religious nationalist Jewish Home party had threatened to leave the coalition if its demands were not met, forcing the postponement of a telephone vote, originally scheduled for Sunday, on approving Lieberman's appointment.

According to the settlement, the head of the National Security Council will be in charge of informing ministers of the security cabinet on secret national security issues.

Netanyahu signed a deal last week to expand his coalition by including Lieberman's ultranationalist Yisrael Beytenu ("Israel Our Home") party in his coalition.

The new alliance will increase the advantage of Netanyahu's coalition over the opposition from a razor-thin lead of 61-59 to 66-54.

Lieberman is seen as one of the most polarizing politicians in Israel, with a far-right and anti-Arab agenda.

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