Israeli PM visits West Bank settlement amid protest

Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has made his first official visit to a settlement in the occupied West Bank since he took office.

Bennett, also the leader of the pro-settler Yamina Party, on Tuesday participated in a commemoration marking the 45th anniversary of the founding of the settlement of Elkana, Xinhua news agency reported.

During the visit, far-right activists and Israeli settlers launched a protest against the Prime Minister’s coalition government which includes some dovish partners and an Islamic party.

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The protesters demanded Bennett resign, calling him a “traitor” and chanting “Bennett, don’t sell Elkana to the Arabs,” the Hebrew-language Ha’aretz newspaper reported on its website.

“As Prime Minister of Israel, I do not want any group in the country to live in fear,” Bennett said.

“The government is for the benefit of everyone. I will make every effort in the world to hold it together. Nobody has been excluded except for those who exclude themselves.”

Bennett was sworn in June 2021 as the Prime Minister of a fragile eight-party coalition. He has been under intense criticism by his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, and nationalist activists, who accuse him of abandoning his ideology.

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