Sa’ar threatens to bolt coalition if he’s not given more say over war

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 leader Gideon Sa'ar at the Knesset on March 13, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
New Hope leader Gideon Sa'ar at the Knesset on March 13, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

During his New Hope party’s first faction meeting following its split from the National Unity faction, MK Gideon Sa’ar pans the government’s progress in Gaza and declares that unless he is given more influence over the course of the war he cannot remain in the coalition.

“We believe in the ambitious goals set by the security cabinet for the war. They are ambitious, as I said, but they are achievable,” the former senior Likud lawmaker says. “Unfortunately, the rate of military progress, the rate of military pressure has decreased in recent months” and has even had knock-on effects on the conflict with Hezbollah in the north.

“In the international arena as well, the passage of time is not helpful to us, to say the least,” he continues, asserting that while “patience is required in the campaign…we must act at a faster pace with more forces, we must increase the military pressure on Hamas.”

“In the first week of the war, I prioritized the establishment of the emergency government over my membership in the limited [war] cabinet” but “we no longer have this privilege,” he insists, calling his split with National Unity leader Benny Gantz an “opportunity to try and influence a change in the direction of the war and to make our voice heard.”

“We joined the government that we opposed only because of the war and only to influence the war issue. If we cannot do this – we cannot be in the government. “Either way – we will act out of national responsibility, and out of a commitment to achieving the goals of the war.”

Asked if he is currently in talks with former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett regarding any sort of shared political future, Sa’ar responds that he is not.

Announcing his exit from National Unity last week, Sa’ar demanded to be made a member of the war cabinet.

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