Gideon Sa'ar (Center) says goodbye to the Knesset, November 3, 2014. .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Former interior minister Gideon Sa’ar is seriously considering challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the Likud leadership due to a poll published on Friday in The Jerusalem Post and its Hebrew sister newspaper Maariv Sof Hashavua, a source who spoke to Sa’ar about the poll said on Saturday night.
The poll, taken on Wednesday among 500 respondents representing a statistical sample of the adult Israeli population, asked whom they would prefer one-on-one if there were direct elections for prime minister.
Between Netanyahu and Sa’ar, 43 percent said Sa’ar, 38% Netanyahu, and 19% did not know.
“The poll is giving him a strong push to run,” said the source, a close confidant.
Sa’ar told the Post that he would not comment about the poll. Likud activists revealed on Thursday that Sa’ar was considering making a political comeback, just three months after announcing at a pre-Rosh Hashana toast that he was taking a break from politics.
The Likud leadership race is set for January 6. But Netanyahu wants to advance the race, in a move seen as an attempt to prevent Sa’ar from having enough time to prepare.
The party released a statement on Saturday night saying the prime minister had already started looking into the possibility of advancing the Likud leadership race last week when it became clear that the general election would be moved up.
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“The prime minister wants the party to be ready as soon as possible for the general election,” the Likud statement said.
“Advancing the race would shorten the primary, save resources, and unite the party ahead of the election that will decide who the prime minister will be and what party will run the country.”
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