After a two-and-a-half year break from political life, Former Education and Interior Minister Gideon Saar is making a comeback.
In a Likud party conference this evening (Monday) in the northern coastal city of Akko, Saar announced his return to politics.
"I missed it," Gideon Saar began his remarks at the Acre Likud meeting. "It is not I who honors you for coming here; you honor me."
"Likud comrades: We stand at the eve of Passover. This holiday is called the Time of our Freedom. What is true freedom? For us to be ourselves. We became an independent nation when we left Egypt, and we, on the eve of Passover must ask ourselves first of all - who are we as a state, as a people, and as a Likud movement?" Saar said.
He added that "the Likud has always championed preservation of the Land of Israel in its entire length and breadth, and has insisted on these things as the protective wall of the State of Israel."
He complimented Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and said, "We have worked for eight years against a [US] government that did not see eye to eye with us - and I want to praise the Prime Minister who stood up to these burdensome pressures - and kept our interests intact But the pressures, the challenges, and the problems are not behind us. And we see the danger of a return to the same outline of a demand from Israel to return to the 1967 lines, which we have believed and continue to believe endangers the future and security of Israel."
Sa'ar noted that "in the face of this danger, we must strengthen the nation's staying power and strengthen the Likud as a political and national movement in the State of Israel. We shall all support the government and its leader in facing pressures when it comes to the vital interests of the State of Israel."
"The second issue is the social banner. The State of Israel has a successful economy. The Likud must be the political movement that demands, at this moment, to allocate resources for social issues and the severe hardships of some of the citizens of Israel. The distress of young couples who have it very hard from both the cost of living and the cost of housing. These things must be dealt with," Saar said.
He further said that "the third point is our tradition, and the Likud has always been a movement that understood the importance of the heritage and tradition of Israel as a pillar of our existence," he said, "and teaching your children is an obligation for each of us, and we must strengthen it in the education system of all sectors.
"Unity and statesmanship, these are elements that we learned from Menachem Begin. The people of Israel longs for an approach that unifies. I believe that we as a political movement can reach the highest peaks of power and the highest peaks of our influence ever - if we follow Begin's statesmanship approach," Saar said.
He declared that he was ending the time-out he had taken from political life. "As you know, two-and-a-half years ago I decided to take a break from political life, after almost 20 years of public service - and I wanted to be with the family ... I had a really pleasant and quiet time. That is over, and I came to say that the hiatus is over; I am returning to public and political activity in our movement - the Likud.
"My goal is to strengthen the Likud to meet the challenges of the future, to ensure that the Likud movement, which is the leading national movement in Israel, will lead the country in the future as well. Likud members and will present a series of ideas and solutions to the country's problems in all areas," Saar declared.
"I act out of the feeling that I can contribute to the State and the movement. Together we will do everything, from a place of unity. If there are things that need to be corrected - and there are some - we will correct them together, in a good spirit, with an approach that sees the good of the State and the Likud movement in the center, without any other considerations. We will go together to strengthen our country, to expand the ranks of the movement, we will mobilize people in general and young people in particular, who will ensure the future of the Likud, we will examine how we can conduct real activity on the ground today and with G-d's help we will succeed."