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Sa’ar denies talks with Likud, says vote to renew civil law for settlers a red line

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then Minister of Internal Affairs Gideon Sa'ar, in the Knesset, July 9, 2013. (Flash 90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then Minister of Internal Affairs Gideon Sa'ar, in the Knesset, July 9, 2013. (Flash 90)

Unnamed coalition members are aiming criticism at Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar over his headline-grabbing push to rally support for a law that would renew a measure extending Israeli civil and criminal law to West Bank settlers, Channel 12 reports.

Members of the coalition think Sa’ar’s strategy is making it more difficult for Ra’am to back the measure, the channel says.

Sa’ar tells Channel 12 that whoever aimed the criticism at him is a coward for hiding behind anonymity, and shoots his own criticism at the coalition for failing to fully support the measure, which he again claims will create massive legal headaches.

“When I’m fighting for the bill, I’m fighting for the coalition’s existence. Anyone who does not support the bill wants the coalition to not exist,” he says. “I’m committed to this coalition, but if this coalition is to exist it has to govern.”

“We have to do the maximum to avoid unnecessary elections … this coalition “is the least bad option… we fought for it… but that’s if it is able to govern.”

The New Hope head denies outright reports of talks between Likud and him or Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin. He does so in interviews with Channels 11 and 13, which are all aired at the same time.

Reminded that before elections he said he wouldn’t join a government with Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, and asked to explicitly repeat that pledge, he says “my stance hasn’t changed.”

He refuses three times to explicitly repeat that he won’t sit with Netanyahu, but does criticize the opposition leader for refusing to support the bill renewing settler legal protections.

“For his personal interest, Netanyahu is waging a campaign against the core national interest of the state of Israel,” he says.

Evidently, Netanyahu hasn’t changed, says Sa’ar, and “thus my stance [against sitting with him] hasn’t changed either… and I can’t see a circumstance in which it would.”

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