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US concerned over appointment of Israeli ultranationalist as public security minister

With President Isaac Herzog preparing to task Benjamin Netanyahu with the composition of the next government, the Biden administration is increasingly worried over ultranationalist Itamar Ben-Gvir, ideological successor of Rabbi Meir Kahane, becoming a Cabinet minister.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, leader of the Israeli far-right Jewish Power party, speaks during parliamentary consultations with parties elected in the 25th Knesset, at the presidential residence, Jerusalem, Nov. 10, 2022.

TEL AVIV — The US Ambassador’s Residence on the Mediterranean coast north of Tel Aviv has rarely housed a more concerned envoy than incumbent Tom Nides since the results were announced of Israel’s Nov. 1 elections.

Like Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Nides, too, sent out feelers in recent days to gauge whether outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, separately or together, might express “willingness” to save Israel from the emerging ultranationalist, ultrareligious government being formed by Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu. Like Herzog, he, too, has realized that this is not a viable option, at this stage.

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