Saar 'Not Ruling Out Running against Bibi'

Gideon Saar (Likud) said he was leaving politics in September but reportedly is signalling he may be about to return.

Uzi Baruch, Gil Ronen ,

Interior Minister Gideon Saar
Interior Minister Gideon Saar
Flash 90

Former minister Gideon Saar does not rule out the possibility of running against Binyamin Netanyahu for leadership of Likud in the upcoming primaries, according to political sources who spoke to him in recent days.

According to the sources, Saar told his supporters to prepare “for every scenario” and set up a political headquarters.

Likud activists identified with Saar are reportedly collecting the 500 signatures needed to make it formally possible for him to run for the position of Likud chairman.

Another possible hint at Saar's intention might be the fact that his wife, Channel 1 news anchor Geula Even, has been on leave for the past week. Sources in the Israel Broadcasting Authority estimated that Even went on leave so as not to create a conflict of interest, when her husband announces that he will take part in the Likud primaries. Geula Even denies this and says it is just "spin."

Netanyahu, meanwhile, appears to be well-aware of the goings on and has taken action to hold the Likud primaries at an earlier date than the one originally set – January 7 – in a way that will make it more difficult for Saar to join the race.

Likud officially denies that these are the considerations behind the attempts to change the date of the primaries. Rather, it said, the move was prompted by the fact that a date for early national elections was announced. Holding primaries earlier will save money and unite Likud ahead of the elections, the party said.