Gideon Sa'ar to Arutz Sheva:
'Only my victory will prevent Left from coming to power'

Likud candidate: Without Likud leadership change, Bibi won't be able to form government even after 3rd election: 'I can unite the people.'

Hezki Baruch ,

Hezki Baruch

MK Gideon Sa'ar (Likud) hopes a government will be formed and Israel will avoid a third election campaign within a year-and-a-half.

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Sa'ar was asked who in his opinion was to blame for the political crisis, and said that the Likud's claim is directed at Blue and White that disqualified a partnership with the Right and later also disqualified Netanyahu as first to serve as prime minister in the rotating government. But at the end of the day he says we must focus on reality rather than accusations, and the reality is that "we're in terrible shape," he says.

"We're going to the third elections in a year in a way that is detached from the public's problems, and that I regret. We must make a change and take a turn. We must ensure that, if G-d forbid there's a third election - and I join the Prime Minister's definition of it as 'madness' - a government will be formed. If we remain with the same leadership, there'll be no government even after the third election."

Sa'ar adds and clarifies his position that "those who want to secure the right-wing government should support me as a way to change the leadership that will allow the State of Israel to emerge from the crisis it's in and establish a national government after a year-and-a-half when we're running from election to election."

Sa'ar is convinced that he will win, saying "only my victory can guarantee that a government will emerge here after the third election and prevent the rise of the Left." In this context, Sa'ar mentions the poll published last night according to which he can increase the Right bloc "because I move votes from one side to the other. There's no way the Prime Minister will bring a chunk of Blue and White voters to him. Unfortunately there's the opposite danger. I'm the only one who can bring votes from the other camp and secure the enlargement of the national camp in the first stage, and establish a Likud-led government in the second stage."

On the prospect of losing the campaign against Netanyahu, Sa'ar says: "When you run, you run to win. Democracy has more options, but I run to win. My victory is essential for those things that will pull Israel out of a most difficult economic crisis and stand to hurt even more come January."

Sa'ar rejected the possibility brought up in the past that he and other Likud Knesset Members will support a Gantz government: "For me there's no such possibility. I'm on the Likud's mission. In this Knesset, Netanyahu is our candidate. We installed him and gave him the opportunity to form a government for the first and second time and as long as he's the Likud's head he needs to be given backing.

"I proposed something else that would prevent elections. I proposed to go to primaries within 21 days so we could form a government. It wasn't accepted and when it wasn't received I designated Binyamin Netanyahu again with all 32 Likud faction members. We didn't have a dispute on this matter. But now, when things didn't work out, one must draw conclusions."

Asked if Netanyahu as Prime Minister hurts the Right-leaning camp, the Knesset Member clarifies: "Netanyahu as Prime Minister has made very good achievements. He brought impressive achievements in the political sphere. However, the political facts today are that after fourteen years of cumulative tenure, according to all public opinion research, he is unable to form a government and is blocked for various reasons by many parties, including parties that naturally should belong to our bloc. That is why we're in a position to have a majority of the nation backing our opinions and the Knesset has a majority backing our opinions, but we have no way of forming a government. Under these circumstances, the Likud must behave responsibly and rationally and make this move to ensure the establishment of a Likud-led government."

According to Sa'ar, the Netanyahu indictments are not the main issue, even if these indictments contribute to the political complication, "but they are not the starting point but the political inability to form a government. If no change is made, there'll be no different situation."

Sa'ar is convinced that with his election to the Likud, there will be more than one option for forming a government. "There are a lot of people with whom it will be possible to form a government," he says, stating that if Netanyahu continues in office, none of this will happen.

Knesset Member Sa'ar was also asked if a government headed by him had room for a party such as Otzma Yehudit' "I do not deal in disqualifications. Every list that wanted to run in the elections and won the voter's confidence would be negotiated with and I assume they'll be part of a wider bloc of parties."

On the possibility of Bennett and Shaked armoring the Likud, Sa'ar would have been happy to see them in the Likud, "Practically for the upcoming elections, it is doubtful whether such a connection will produce more votes for us than a separate run. So after we've been in previous alliances when together we got less than running separately, one should look carefully and see that it's useful to the entire national camp."

On others who claim the Likud leadership's crown, Sa'ar says each of them is entitled to run and present his own experience and abilities and the voting public will decide.

On Knesset Member Nir Barkat's accusations that Sa'ar's messages are coordinated with Blue and White and the fear that the embrace he is apparently receiving these days is due to his identification as one who will split Likud and the Right-leaning camp, Sa'ar responds: 'I don't see an embrace but attacks. On the contrary, I'm pressed when the Rightist government is in danger. If any government - a Right-leaning government or a unity government - is formed, I'd support it. At the moment, I'm pressed because there's a problem with the establishment of the government and I did not create this problem. I backed the election campaigns and the loyalty statements. Was a government formed? You have to look at reality in the face and decide how long we won't deal with the problems of the citizens but instead be busy with running to TV studios and more and more futile elections that only cost billions that the citizens are funding. The impasse needs to be broken."

Sa'ar tenses when he hears a claim that he like to maintain political ambiguity on issues such as sovereignty to bring him more flattering poll results. "I maintain ambiguity? I was the first to talk about sovereignty issues since the beginning of Trump's term and when I was outside the political arena calling for sovereignty over Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria. I have a consistent record on this issue. I have the clearest record on all issues. No one has a record of deeds and stances more documented than I have.

"The people of Israel are looking for hope for unity and I can do it, I can unite them. Shamir was the most Rightist Prime Minister and he united the people. If you want to get to the majority you have to support someone who can bring votes from the other camp. I can do that and there's evidence I can do it."