Gideon Sa'ar
Gideon Sa'ar Haim Versano

On Sunday evening, the founding committee of the New Hope party headed by Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar held an event with the participation of all its ministers and Knesset members along with hundreds of activists.

“The State of Israel was taken captive by one man due to his own personal interests,” Sa’ar said in a speech, attacking former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We saved the State of Israel. We courageously resisted enticements and pressure. I even received a written promise that I would be appointed premier first in a rotation agreement. I refused.

“We also saved the honor of the national camp,” Sa’ar continued, “after they had followed the Pied Piper of Balfour with a blind faith that led to a complete disconnect from all the values we were raised with. We did the right thing – it was the ethical thing to do,” he insisted.

“I know how to protect Israel and her citizens, from a concentration of power in too few hands, from extremism, from autocracy, from unjust attacks. They themselves recognize that we are the barrier against all these, but they have yet to recognize the extent of the change we have brought about.

“They think that we’re just a temporary phenomenon,” Sa’ar said. “They tell each other that next time around, they’ll get 61 seats – and I’ve heard this four times already… They’re living in a movie – they’re stuck in this terrible, surreal version of things,” he said.

Sa’ar also promised: “We are never going to give up, because we’re fighting for the future of our children and for the dream of previous generations – the dream of a strong, modern country advancing into the future, a country that is not beholden to extremists. A country where justice prevails, a Jewish and democratic country, one that protects freedom and equality.”

Referring to the ongoing Iran crisis, with world powers struggling to persuade Iran to agree to restrictions on its nuclear program, Sa’ar said, “An agreement at any price that includes the removal of sanctions without anything significant in return will bring nothing but regional instability and will empower the extremists. Global powers need to grasp the historic responsibility at this moment of truth and stand strong against Iran’s headlong rush toward nuclear weapons. Whether or not they actually do, Israel will always be determined to protect her security and ensure her future,” he stated.

Meanwhile, a new survey conducted by the Midgam polling agency and published on Sunday evening by Channel 12 News might have given Sa’ar pause for thought, given that it shows his New Hope party failing to pass the electoral threshold with just 2.4% of the vote.

The poll grants the Likud party 34 seats, followed by Yesh Atid with 19 seats. Following these two parties are Shas, with 9 seats, Blue & White with 9 seats, Labor with 7 seats, United Torah Judaism with 7 seats, and Religious Zionism with 7 seats.

The Joint List takes 6 seats in this poll, as do the Yisrael Beytenu party and Naftali Bennett’s Yamina. Meretz receives 5 seats, and rounding out the list is Ra’am (United Arab List), also with 5 seats.

As such, the Netanyahu bloc has 57 seats, still 4 short of being able to form a government.

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