The latest defector from the Likud party has left with more sorrow than fury, with more regret at the loss of his political home than with determination to bring about the downfall of a personal enemy. Ze’ev Elkin’s decision to join Gideon Sa’ar’s new party will surely deal a heavy blow to the Prime Minister and could potentially lead to an avalanche of defectors (or rats leaving the sinking ship – whichever way one prefers to assess what is happening).

“I have seen how, for Netanyahu, his personal interests override those of the nation,” Elkin accused. “We are heading to elections solely because you want to be the one appointing the state attorney so that you can influence the outcome of your own trial.”

Elkin also accused Netanyahu of effectively destroying his own party in an attempt to be its supreme and unquestioned leader. “You instilled fear into the party, fear of expressing criticism – you wanted to rule like a despot. I have no doubt that Likud members will now be running to the broadcasting studios to denounce me in the strongest terms – but behind closed doors, they say the exact same things about you as I am saying now.”

Alluding to Yamina head MK Naftali Bennett’s refusal to rule out sitting with anyone, including Netanyahu, in the next government, Elkin said – addressing the Prime Minister directly – “You have no problem with promising things to anyone and everyone – and deliberately deceiving them. You seem to be counting on Bennett forgetting everything you’ve done to him in the past, like someone suffering from battered woman syndrome,” and enabling him to form a coalition and continue to rule the country.

Elkin’s devastating conclusion was that “In such a situation, I can no longer tell the citizens of Israel to vote for you, and I can no longer serve as a minister in your government.”

In response to Elkin’s declaration, Gideon Sa’ar expressed his “delight and pride at this decision, taken by a friend and colleague, Minister Ze'ev Elkin, to join New Hope under my leadership. I have known Ze'ev for many years as a public servant of the finest quality, one of our wisest and most ethical politicians. He has a vast range of experience in government, in security issues, in education, science and more, and is also well versed in everything related to the Zionist settlement enterprise.”

Referring to Elkin as “a chess-player, I always saw you as someone who could see a few moves ahead and who analyzed everything from a variety of perspectives, taking everything into account. You have had a stellar political career, starting out as a Ukrainian immigrant and working your way up to the pinnacle of political power as a minister and member of the security cabinet, also serving as head of the Foreign Affairs and Security committee.”

Becoming ever more effusive in his praise, Sa’ar lauded Elkin for his “moral values – this is a man you can trust. He is loyal to his people and to our land, to our values and Jewish and Zionist heritage. This latest decision testifies to his integrity and to his courage in acting in accordance with his beliefs. Today, the day upon which Ze'ev decided to join New Hope, is a very significant day for me,” Sa’ar concluded. “He will serve as my deputy and as a senior partner in guiding the new movement, and together, we will be victorious.”