Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar (New Hope) told Israel's "Meet the Press" that if MK Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud-led bloc do not win 61 Knesset seats, there will be far-reaching developments the day after the elections.
"I assume that today there are people in the Likud who are asking themselves, 'What future awaits me, in this direction?' I warned ahead of time where the Likud was headed, that was the basis for the fact that I left the Likud. I don't know if there are names for a potential partner," Sa'ar said.
Regarding the decision that his party and Defense Minister Benny Gantz's Blue and White party will run together in the coming elections, Sa'ar said, "We joined together so that Netanyahu would not come back. We are not bringing back Netanyahu, even as an alternate prime minister. There is complete understanding between myself and Gantz on this issue. Gantz and I went with this union because we thought it would be good for both of us. We examined all of the issues in depth, and we reached agreements on 95% of them."
He added, "I am really not moved by the polls. We will gain strength. I estimate - I cannot explain everything - but Gantz is still a candidate for prime minister."
Regarding statements by the United Torah Judaism party's chief, MK Moshe Gafni, that the party will only sit in a coalition with Netanyahu, Sa'ar said, "He made other statements before this. I am telling you, on the basis of knowledge: If Netanyahu does not have 61 Knesset seats, both in the Likud and in the haredi parties there will be far-reaching effects after the elections."
When asked about the Zionist Spirit party, created when the Yamina and Derech Eretz parties combined, Sa'ar said that in his opinion, "the Zionist Spirit will not pass the electoral threshold."
"If they pass, Netanyahu will be the next prime minister," he added. "Unfortunately, what [MK Zvi] Hauser and [Communications Minister Yoaz] Hendel say today is not what they said two months ago."
Zionist Spirit responded to Sa'ar's statements, saying, "Gideon Sa'ar is feeling pressured because there is a flow of votes from Blue and White to the Zionist Spirit. Without the Zionist Spirit, Netanyahu has 61, or Benny Gantz has 61 with the Joint Arab List. Only with the Zionist Spirit will there be a broad and unified government."