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Israel defense chief quits, warns of extremist rise under Netanyahu

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Israel's defense minister resigned on Friday, saying the nation was being taken over by 'extremist and dangerous elements' after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu moved to replace him with a far-right politician in an effort to strengthen his coalition. Political sources say Netanyahu has offered long-time rival Avigdor Lieberman the defense portfolio, a post crucial for a country on a perennial war footing. The Defence Ministry also runs civil affairs in the occupied West Bank, where Palestinians struggling for statehood live in friction with Jewish settlers. 'To my great regret, I have recently found myself in difficult disputes over matters of principle and professionalism with the prime minister, a number of cabinet members and some lawmakers,' outgoing Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said, reading, grim-faced, from a statement at his Tel Aviv office.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.

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