By Zain Khalil
JERUSALEM (AA) – Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed Likud member Tzachi Hanegbi as head of the National Security Council, according to local media.
Public broadcaster KAN termed the appointment as a "big surprise" given that Hanegbi was not elected a member of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) in last month’s general elections.
Hanegbi, 65, had served in several ministerial portfolios, including internal security and regional cooperation.
He will replace Eyal Hulata, who last month informed outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid that he intends to end his duties with the end of the current government's term.
The National Security Council was established in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office in March 1999, at the end of Netanyahu's first term as prime minister.
The council is responsible for providing strategic advice to the Prime Minister and security recommendations to the government.
The Knesset is expected to hold a special session on Thursday to grant confidence to Netanyahu’s new government.
Netanyahu, 73, served as prime minister from 1996 to 1999, and then for 12 straight years, from 2009 to 2021.
*Ikram Imane Kouachi contributed to this report