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Netanyahu said to hold talks with Ben Gvir after meeting with Smotrich

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Otzma Yehudit chief Itamar Ben Gvir arrive for the swearing-in ceremony for the new Knesset, at the parliament building in Jerusalem, November 15, 2022. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Otzma Yehudit chief Itamar Ben Gvir arrive for the swearing-in ceremony for the new Knesset, at the parliament building in Jerusalem, November 15, 2022. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)

After meeting with Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich, Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu holds talks with Otzma Yehudit head Itamar Ben Gvir, Israeli television reports say.

According to Channel 12 news, Netanyahu was unable to reach an agreement with Smotrich on a ministerial post and the Religious Zionism leader is now meeting with the No. 2 in Netanyahu’s Likud party, MK Yariv Levin.

Smotrich is demanding either the Treasury or the defense portfolio, but Netanyahu is apparently reluctant to grant him the latter, while his more senior partner Aryeh Deri has demanded the Finance Ministry for his Shas party.

The Channel 12 report says Netanyahu told Smotrich that Israel needs to act moderately in terms of security and diplomacy for the rest of US President Joe Biden’s term, citing the ongoing unrest in the West Bank.

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