Netanyahu ex-ally nominates himself to be next PM

International

FILE – In this Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, visit an Israeli army base in the Golan Heights, on the Israeli-Syrian border. Bennett is ordering plans for new settler housing in the volatile West Bank city of Hebron. In a letter sent by his office to defense officials Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, Israel’s new pro-settler defense minister called for “planning processes to be advanced” for new Jewish settler housing. (Atef Safadi/Pool via AP, File)

JERUSALEM (AP) – A former right-wing ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recommended himself as the next prime minister, deepening Israel’s political deadlock.

Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party nominated him to form the next government in consultations with Israel’s president on Monday.

Yamina had been in a position to serve as a kingmaker between the two major blocs of supporters and opponents of Netanyahu.

Instead, it declined to take sides. Yamina has just seven seats in parliament, making it a long shot to be able to form a governing coalition.

Bennett is hoping he can become a consensus candidate who can bridge the deep divides between the rival factions.

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