As Netanyahu probe deepens, Sa'ar emerges as possible successor

Netanyahu's former No. 2 in Likud flexes his political muscle.

Gideon Saar at UNESCO 311 (photo credit: Education Ministry)
Gideon Saar at UNESCO 311
(photo credit: Education Ministry)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former No. 2 in Likud, Gideon Sa’ar, is expected to display his political muscles on Wednesday night at a pre-Rosh Hashana toast at the Hermitage Hall in Or Yehuda.
The toast will be the largest event hosted by Sa’ar since a September 2014 holiday toast in which he shocked a crowd of more than 500 Likud activists at Ramat Gan’s Kfar Hamaccabiah Hotel by announcing that he was taking a break from politics.
Sa’ar announced his comeback to politics on April 3 in Acre, which is north of Haifa. Wednesday’s toast is his first major event in the center of the country.
A source close to Sa’ar said 700 to 800 people would attend the event, including mayors from across the country. Buses will take Likud activists from Beersheba and Haifa to Or Yehuda.
“The feedback was stronger than expected,” a source close to Sa’ar said. “People want to come and show their support.”
Sa’ar is seen in the Likud as a possible successor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whether soon due to criminal investigations or in the distant future.
In an interview that will be published in The Jerusalem Post’s Rosh Hashana edition, Sa’ar said he saw himself as a future prime minister but he intended to wait his turn.
“I decided to come back to lead the country in the future, but I am not in a hurry,” he said. “I believe in hard work, but I also believe in patience. I have seen people make mistakes in politics because they lack patience, and I don’t intend to make mistakes based on the expectations of others. I will make the right decisions at the right time.”
Regarding the investigations of Netanyahu, he said he hoped the premier would emerge unscathed. He described the prime minister as a partner who shared his political ideology and said he was grateful to Netanyahu for giving his start when he appointed a 32-year-old Sa’ar as cabinet secretary almost two decades ago.
“It’s not easy for anyone in the country to see what the prime minister is going through, especially me as a member of the Likud, who has worked with Netanyahu in cooperation and closeness for so many years in the government and the opposition,” he said.