Tzachi Hanegbi
Tzachi HanegbiYitzhak Kelman

Former minister Tzachi Hanegbi, who did not enter the Knesset after being placed in the 46th spot on the Likud slate, will be appointed head of the National Security Council, one of the most sensitive and central positions in the political-security establishment.

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu decided on the appointment on Tuesday after consultations on the matter in recent days.

Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar welcomed the appointment and wrote on Twitter: "Hanegbi has a lot of experience, judgment and understanding of the strategic challenges facing the country. Good luck."

Hanegbi is considered very experienced in the political arena. He previously served in several government ministries, including Minister of Justice, Minister of Public Security, Minister of Regional Cooperation and Minister of Settlement Affairs.

He also served as Deputy Foreign Minister, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Chairman of the Economy Committee, Chairman of the Knesset Committee and Chairman of the Coalition.

Hanegbi was first elected to the Knesset in 1988 and served in it - with the exception of one break - until the current Knesset.

In a recent interview with Channel 12 News, Hanegbi said that he believes that Netanyahu will act to thwart Iran’s nuclear program during his upcoming term in office.

“If there’s anything that could be critical in the next few months, it is the issue of Iran’s nuclear program,” he said.

"We have already forgotten that there was a negotiation between Iran and world powers, which has in essence ended. If this negotiation does not end in an agreement and the US does not act independently, which is what I believe will happen, Prime Minister Netanyahu will work, in my estimation, to destroy the nuclear facilities in Iran," Hanegbi clarified. "If he does not do this, Israel will face an existential threat."

Asked to clarify if Israel, in a government headed by Netanyahu, will physically attack Iran’s nuclear facilities with bombs, he replied, “I believe it will have no choice. It’s a similar story to 1981 with [Menachem] Begin (who authorized the bombing of an Iraqi nuclear reactor -ed.) and 2007 with [Ehud] Olmert (who authorized an air strike against a suspected nuclear reactor in Syria -ed.).”

On the question of whether he heard this from Netanyahu himself or whether this is his own assessment, Hangebi replied, “I’m talking about an assessment, but from an acquaintance of over 35 years with Netanyahu, I’m basing my assessment on the fact that when there is no choice, someone has to take command, and that someone will be Netanyahu.”