Gideon Sa'ar and Netanyahu
Gideon Sa'ar and Netanyahuצילום: נועם מושקוביץ, דוברות הכנסת ו-Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

A senior coalition partner is in talks with the Likud to form a new government in the current Knesset, according to a report by Yedioth Aharonoth.

According to the report Wednesday morning, Justice Minister and New Hope party chief Gideon Sa’ar is in talks with real estate mogul Yaakov Atrakchi, a confidant of Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

Senior officials cited in the report claimed that Sa’ar is considering rejoining the Likud and helping Netanyahu form a new government. Ze’ev Elkin (New Hope) the Jerusalem Affairs Minister, who also serves as Construction and Housing Minister, is also reportedly a party to the talks with the Likud.

The Justice Minister has reportedly been offered the Foreign Ministry portfolio in a Netanyahu-led government – in exchange for the Likud taking the Justice Ministry portfolio.

Sa’ar, who bolted the Likud ahead of last year’s elections, levelled an ultimatum to coalition factions Tuesday, demanding the left-wing Meretz and the United Arab List parties back the Judea and Samaria Law.

The bill, a routine piece of legislation passed every five years to temporarily extend Israeli laws in Judea and Samaria – via the Civil Administration – was pulled from the Knesset’s agenda this week after it was clear the government could not count on the support of the United Arab List.

Sa’ar warned that failure to secure full coalition support for the bill would signal the end of the current government.

“Coalition members who vote against this law are basically saying ‘I don’t want this government to exist’,” Sa’ar said.

“The vote next week will determine whether this coalition wants to continue to exist or not.”

Recent Knesset polls show Sa’ar’s New Hope faction either failing to cross the 3.25% electoral threshold, or barely making it into the next Knesset.

Likud officials cited in Wednesday’s report also said the Netanyahu has instructed Likud members not to attack either Sa’ar or the New Hope party.

Officials from the New Hope faction denied that Sa’ar is in talks with the Likud, but did confirm that the party has received overtures from the Likud.