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Israeli Cabinet OKs hard-liner Bennett as defense minister

JERUSALEM — The Israeli Cabinet has approved hard-line politician Naftali Bennett as defense minister in the country’s caretaker government.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed Bennet, with whom he has a rocky relationship, last week.

Netanyahu appears to be trying to shore up support among his right-wing base. He’s hoping to block attempts by his chief rival, Benny Gantz, to form Israel’s next government.

The Cabinet voted Sunday for Bennett to become defense minister until a permanent government takes hold.

Gantz is in the process of trying to cobble together a majority coalition after inconclusive elections in September. Netanyahu had the first try at forming a government, but failed.

Bennett, who leads the New Right party, has demanded tougher military action against militants in Gaza.

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