Sa’ar announces resignation after missing out on war cabinet appointment

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

New Hope party chair Gideon Saar speaks during a press conference in Tel Aviv on March 25, 2024. (Avshalom Sassoni/ Flash90)
New Hope party chair Gideon Saar speaks during a press conference in Tel Aviv on March 25, 2024. (Avshalom Sassoni/ Flash90)

New Hope chair Gideon Sa’ar announces his resignation from the government after he was not appointed to the war cabinet, following the recent dissolution of his political alliance with Benny Gantz.

Declaring that his New Hope – The United Right party had not joined the emergency government following October 7 in order to “warm chairs,” Sa’ar states that, while he had put aside his disagreements with Netanyahu’s coalition for “the good of the country,” the government had failed to achieve its war aims in Gaza and he felt that he had “no more possibility to influence” its prosecution of the conflict.

“I believed and I still believe – that [our goals] are ambitious but achievable,” and “our soldiers have fought and are fighting bravely,” but under Netanyahu, military progress has slowed down, prolonging the campaign, he says.

“But I cannot bear responsibility as long as I have no…practical possibility to influence the direction of policy. I just don’t see any use in it anymore. We did not come to the government to warm chairs. We came to the government – which we opposed – to help the people of Israel in a difficult time.”

Sa’ar’s announcement comes less than two weeks after the former senior Likud member announced the breakup of the National Unity faction, dissolving his alliance with Gantz’s Blue and White party.

Explaining at the time that Gantz and his colleagues did “not convey the voice, positions and emphasis” that he would bring to the war cabinet, Sa’ar demanded that he be appointed to the narrow decision-making body.

While Gantz was against it, Netanyahu was open to the possibility of adding Sa’ar, but was pulled up short by ultranationalist National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s demand to be appointed to the war cabinet alongside him, according to Hebrew media reports.

The war cabinet currently has three voting members: Netanyahu, Gantz, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. Blue and White’s Gadi Eisenkot is an observer, as are Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and ultra-Orthodox Shas party leader Aryeh Deri, both confidantes of Netanyahu.

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