Photo Credit: Gideon Markowicz/ Flash90
Benjamin Netanyahu and Gideon Sa'ar cold calling Likud voters, January 17, 2013.

{Reposted from the Israel HaYom website}

Gideon Sa’ar’s exit from the Likud dealt a blow to Likud’s morale, all while evoking glee in the Left.


The move does, however, called into question every nationalist position ever expressed by Sa’ar, for the mere reason that a serious national movement cannot fall to pieces. And there is no working around the real intention behind Sa’ar’s move: to split the Right and crown himself, Yamina head Naftali Bennett, Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid, or former IDF Chief Gadi Eizenkot – assuming he enters politics – the leader of Israel’s Right.

Sa’ar’s challenging of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comes on the heels of a survey by Makor Rishon among right-wing voters. It found that 80% of respondents believe that “the right-wing government has succeeded in implementing its security policy.”

Of these, about 59% said they believed it “to a large extent” and over 70% believe that Netanyahu is “successfully implementing the right-wing worldview.”

These figures completely contradict Sa’ar’s main argument that Netanyahu is exploiting the Likud to push his personal interests.

He is right in his distinction that the Likud has changed and so has the Right.

Facing a Left more aggressive than ever, and the fact that the judiciary and parts of the defense establishment have been dogging Netanyahu for years, the Right has become a movement with more populist characteristics.

Sa’ar dubbed Likud’s loyalty to Netanyahu a “cult of personality.” This is a serious and unjust accusation, given the Left’s unbridled assault against the prime minister.

Sa’ar himself has no experience in “big time” politics. He staged a respectful exit from Likud, resigning from the Knesset. The political threat he poses to Blue and White leader Benny Gantz and Bennett creates, as he himself understands, motivation for Netanyahu and Gantz to reach an understanding that will avoid early elections – a solution that will satisfy both.

As a national leader, Sa’ar had nothing to say about the existential threats Israel faces.

Netanyahu reportedly has two candidates for the national leadership to follow him: Mossad Director Yossi Cohen and Israel’s Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer – men of historical caliber.

The difference between Cohen and Dermer and Sa’ar or Eizenkot is like the difference between Moshe Dayan and Shimon Peres and Shmuel Tamir and David Levy. There is no competition.


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