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Political shakeup: Gideon Sa'ar leaves Gantz’s National Unity party, seeks seat in War Cabinet

Sa'ar will re-establish his New Hope Party

Gideon Sa’ar speaking at a conference announcing his split from the National Unity party (Photo: Screenshot)

National Unity Knesset Member Gideon Sa’ar announced he would leave Benny Gantz’s party and seek to reestablish his New Hope party, while also demanding he be given a seat on the Israeli War Cabinet

“I respect my friends, the representatives of National Unity in the war cabinet, but unfortunately, they do not express in it the voice, positions, and emphases I would bring there… I express here our demand to join the war cabinet and be part of the influence on policy,” Sa’ar said at a conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday evening.

The past months saw several instances of Sa’ar publicly taking more hawkish positions than his more left-leaning colleagues in the National Unity party.

“Our voice, the voice of the statesmanlike right, is more essential today than ever. Israel today needs the alternative of the dignified right. If we don’t lead this, I don’t see anyone else who can do it,” Sa'ar added.

The former minister of Education and minister of justice decided to leave National Unity and appeal to the Knesset’s House Committee to reinstate his New Hope faction.

In a first reaction on Tuesday evening, Gantz wrote on 𝕏: “Thank you and good luck.”

Sa'ar's move is shaking Israel's political scene, as it threatens to end the uninterrupted rise of Gantz's National Unity in recent polls.

A recent poll by Israel's Channel 12 news, taken before Sa'ar announced his decision, saw National Unity leading the ruling Likud party by a wide margin, 35:19.

Despite recent opinion polls indicating a rightward shift in the Israeli public since the beginning of the war, it shows that a majority of Israelis still want a change in government. Sa'ar hopes his new party will be able to profit from these sentiments.

The National Unity party joined the government several days after the outbreak of the war against the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza.

Five members of the party, including Gantz, Gadi Eizenkot, Sa’ar, and Knesset Members Hili Tropper and Pnina Tamano-Shata, were sworn in as ministers and members of the Security Cabinet for the duration of the war.

Gantz joined the War Cabinet as a full member, while Eizenkot was appointed an observing member.

Sa’ar was a Likud Knesset member for many years, before leaving the party over differences with its leader Benjamin Netanyahu in 2020.

After running with his own New Hope party for some time, he joined Gantz’s Blue and White party to form the new National Unity Party at the end of 2022.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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