Gideon Sa'ar at JPost Annual Conference.
(photo credit: screenshot)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's former number two, Gidon Sa'ar, will be announcing his return to politics Monday night at a pre-Passover toast for Likud activists at the party's branch in Acre.
Sa'ar quit his post as interior minister in September 2014 and announced that he wanted to spend more time with his family. However, the move was seen as him leaving politics temporarily because he could no longer work with Netanyahu.
Unlike his fellow former Likud ministers Moshe Ya'alon and Moshe Kahlon, Sa'ar never left Likud and always remained loyal to the party.
But the Likud has already chosen Netanyahu as its candidate in the next general election, so there is no leadership race in which Sa'ar can challenge the prime minister.
A Jerusalem Post
poll published some two weeks ago indicated that the public was very much in favor of Sa'ar returning to politics and showed that participants in the poll saw Sa'ar as more fit to be prime minister than former IDF chiefs of staff Moshe Ya'alon, Benny Gantz, and Gabi Ashkenazi. Thirty-nine percent said Sa’ar is fit and 43% unfit, compared to Gantz, who was pronounced fit by 37% and unfit by 44% and Ashkenazi and Ya’alon, who were seen as fit by 30% and unfit by 53%.
In a speech in February, Sa'ar expressed hope that Netanyahu will emerge unscathed from the three criminal investigations that are threatening his political future.
"It pains me as an Israeli citizen to see what is happening," Sa'ar said at the Beersheva newspaper's Jerusalem Conference at the capital's Crown Plaza Hotel.
"I think it pains every Israeli citizen that a prime minister is being investigated, and it hurts me a little more, because I worked with Netanyahu."
During that speech he said he would return to politics but asked for patience. He dismissed speculation that he could form a new party to challenge Netanyahu.
"I know the way back, and I will do it at the right time," he said. "There is no need for headlines in the interim period. I intend to return to public life, and I'll do it in my party, the Likud."