Netanyahu tells Arab leaders that Smotrich will not be defense minister

If there is one issue that is not in contention regarding the policies of the next Israeli government, it is the election of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attempts to promote the Abraham Accords. And he will strive to expand relations with the Arab countries with which Israel has already established full diplomatic relations and to expand the agreement to include other countries. In the messages exchanged between Netanyahu and several Arab leaders, he made it clear that he would be solely responsible for Israel’s foreign affairs and defense policies.

According to a senior Israeli diplomatic source, this is one of the main reasons for Netanyahu’s opposition to Bezalel Smotrich’s demand to appoint him defense minister. This is a job that requires countless sensitive decisions and can greatly affect Israel’s relations with the Arab world.

The same source added that while the size of Smotrich’s party does not help his claim, the key issue is the expertise and capabilities required to take a strategic view when setting course and making decisions. “Smotrich is probably talented and a quick learner, but the job needs other traits that at this point he doesn’t have,” the source said.

Does his hardline view also influence opposition to Smotrich’s appointment as defense minister?

“It is certain that the four top posts, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Minister of Finance and Minister of Defense are statements to the whole world, even before the appointments are decided. Simotrich in the Ministry of Defense will prevent progress with several countries.”

Ben Gvir, Minister of Homeland Security?

The source said: “Here it is more complicated and less problematic. If he is actually appointed, there is an absolute understanding that in the explosive cases in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, nothing will happen without the Prime Minister’s knowledge and approval! It is likely that this case will undergo a practical test very soon.” Where events tend to happen quickly is in Israel, and especially in Jerusalem.

In addition to discussions with various Arab leaders, Netanyahu spoke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last Thursday, a sworn opponent of Israel until recently. The announcement came after the talks that “the two leaders agreed to work together to prepare a new era of relations between Turkey and Israel.”

In the trade and economic fields, Netanyahu plans to accelerate the development of relations with the Abraham Accords and other countries in the region, as well as to solve problems in existing projects such as the Jordanian Shaar Industrial Zone (near Beit Shean on Israel). – Jordan borders) and others. The outgoing government has struggled to move forward with such projects despite the efforts of Minister of Regional Cooperation Issawi Freij.

At the same time, progress has been made in several areas: the volume of sales of defense industries to the countries of the Abraham Accords is increasing, as well as the volume of trade deals. On Thursday, the Mekorot National Water Company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Moroccan National Water and Electricity Company, to cooperate mainly in the field of water desalination, water systems management and the integration of innovative technologies into operations.

Mekorot CEO Amit Land said that this is an achievement that was achieved thanks to the Abraham Accords, and that Israel’s knowledge is bearing fruit in countries that need it. Mekorot previously signed an agreement with Bahrain to build a master plan for the water sector there.

Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on November 20, 2022.

© Copyright Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2022.


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