Netanyahu rival Gideon Sa'ar resigns from the Knesset

MK who ran against Netanyahu for leadership of the Likud resigns from the Knesset after announcing plans to challenge PM with new party.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Sa'ar (r) hands over resignation letter to Yariv Levin
Sa'ar (r) hands over resignation letter to Yariv Levin

Former minister and Likud MK Gideon Sa’ar resigned from the Knesset Wednesday morning, after announcing his plans to leave the Likud and establish a new party to challenge Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Sa’ar, a key rival of Netanyahu within the Likud, submitted a letter of resignation to Knesset Speaker MK Yariv Levin (Likud), with the resignation set to go into effect Friday morning.

The vacant seat will be filled by incoming MK Nissim Vatouri, who was placed on the 40th spot on the Likud’s candidate slate in the previous election.

Sa’ar had announced plans to resign Tuesday night, saying that he could no longer serve under Prime Minister Netanyahu, vowing to challenge Netanyahu for the premiership in the next general election.

To that end, Sa’ar vowed to form a new political party, which has yet to be named.

A poll released Wednesday morning found that a party headed by Sa’ar would win 17 seats if new elections were held today, compared to 25 seats for the Likud and 19 for Yamina.

According to a report by Yediot Aharanot, the two-MK Derech Eretz faction, which split off from Telem earlier this year, is planning on joining Sa’ar’s new party once it is formally established.