Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar

Justice minister in talks to join Netanyahu-led government, sources say

Sources say Gideon Sa'ar offered foreign affairs portfolio to jump ship as opinion polls suggest his faction would struggle to make the cut in an election; New Hope denies report

Yuval Karni |
Published: 06.01.22, 08:35
New Hope leader and Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar was holding talks to join a government led by Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu, Ynet learned on Wednesday.
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  • Sa'ar, who is currently serving in the government under Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, is considering a renewed partnership with his former political home in the Likud Party, from which he splintered off ahead of the 2021 elections and following his defeat to Netanyahu for their chairmanship of the conservative party.
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    גדעון סער באולפן
    גדעון סער באולפן
    Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar
    (Photo: Yariv Katz)
    Sa'ar then vowed he would not serve under Netanyahu who is on trial for corruption.
    His right-wing New Hope faction has been repeatedly struggling to muster enough support to pass the minimum four-Knesset seat threshold should elections take place in recent opinion polls.
    On Tuesday, Sa'ar made an explicit threat to the survival of the coalition when he implored all members to support an extension to a bill that regulates Israeli law over West Bank settlers.
    Coalition partners the Islamist Ra'am party was expected to oppose an extension of the bill.
    Should the coalition fail to extend the regulations, Israeli law, for the most part, will not apply to the West Bank which has not been officially annexed by Israel and remains under military rule.
    "Without this law, Israelis would be tried through military courts, which is something we certainly would not want," Sa'ar said.
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    השקת קמפיין הליכוד
    השקת קמפיין הליכוד
    Benjamin Netanyahu and Gideon Sa'ar
    (Photo: Point 2 Point)
    "Were it not for this law, security prisoners in Israeli prison would have to be held in military prisons in Judea and Samaria [the Hebrew name for the West Bank]. The police would not be authorized to investigate crimes committed by residents of Judea and Samaria, even if they took place in Israel."
    According to sources familiar with the discussions, Sa'ar was offered to be appointed foreign minister in Netanyahu's government and other members of his faction were also offered senior positions but on the condition that the justice portfolio, currently held by Sa'ar, will be transferred to the hand of Likud.
    Sources within Likud told Ynet that Netanyahu had instructed party members to refrain from attacking Sa'ar or his faction.
    New Hope denied they were considering teaming up with Netanyahu and said Likud has made numerous overtures in a bid to woo them to the fold.
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