Gideon Sa'ar

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Gideon Sa'ar
Date of birth (1966-12-09) 9 December 1966 (age 53)
Place of birthTel Aviv, Israel
Knessets16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23
Faction represented in Knesset
Ministerial roles
2009–2013Minister of Education
2013–2014Minister of Internal Affairs

Gideon Moshe Sa'ar (Hebrew: גִּדְעוֹן סַעַר; born 9 December 1966) is an Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset for the political party Likud between 2003 and 2014, and held cabinet posts of Education Minister and then of Minister of the Interior, from 2009 to 2014. In April 2019, he was re-elected to the 21st Knesset.


Gideon Moshe Zarechansky (later Sa'ar) was born in Tel Aviv. His mother, Bruriah, is of Bukharian Jewish descent,[1] while his father, Shmuel, was a Jew born in Argentina who immigrated to Israel in the mid-1960s, settled in Sde Boker and became the personal physician of David Ben-Gurion. Sa'ar has two siblings, a brother and a sister.[2] After serving in the Israel Defense Forces as an intelligence NCO in the Golani Brigade, Sa'ar studied political science at Tel Aviv University and then went on to study law at the same institution.[3][4]

In May 2013, Sa'ar married Israeli news anchor Geula Even, with whom he has two children, David and Shira. Sa'ar has another two children, Alona and Daniela, from his first wife, as well as one grandchild.[5]

Political career[edit]

Sa'ar worked as an aide to the Attorney General between 1995 and 1997, and then as an aide to the State Attorney until 1998.[6] Sa'ar was appointed cabinet Secretary in 1999 and again from 2001–2 after Likud's Ariel Sharon won a special election for Prime Minister. In the 2003 elections he won a seat in the Knesset on Likud's list, and was appointed Likud Parliamentary Group Chairman as well as Chairman of the Coalition. He was opposed to Israel's unilateral disengagement plan, and attempted to pass a bill demanding a referendum on the subject.[7]

After retaining his seat in the 2006 elections he was reappointed Group Chairman and also became a deputy Knesset speaker.

While in the Knesset, Sa'ar proposed bills to jail employers who fire pregnant women,[8] (he chaired the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women) and to ban cosmetics testing on animals.[9]

In December 2008 Sa'ar won the Likud primaries for its list going into the 2009 elections, giving him second place on the Likud list after leader Binyamin Netanyahu.[10] He retained his seat, and was appointed Minister of Education on 31 March.[11]

In 2012, he again gained the most votes in Likud primaries, and entered the 19th Knesset.

In September 2014, Sa'ar announced that he would be resigning his post before the next election. He said he would still remain a member of the Likud.[12][13] On 17 September, he took a hiatus from politics.[14] He left the Knesset on 5 November, and was replaced by Leon Litinetsky.

On 3 April 2017 Sa'ar announced his return to politics and intention to run in the next Likud primaries. He was seen as a potential candidate for party leadership and eventually prime minister.[15][16][17][18][19]

In September 2017, The Jerusalem Post ranked him 5th on its "50 most influential Jews" list, calling him the "heir apparent to the Likud throne".[20] In September 2018, he was ranked 25th along with fellow Likud members Yisrael Katz and Gilad Erdan.[21]

Likud leadership run[edit]

In October 2019, amid coalition talks, Prime Minister Netanyahu indicated he was considering holding a snap election for party leadership. In a terse tweet, Sa'ar responded "I'm ready."[22][23][24] After Netanyahu decided against holding a leadership election, Sa'ar confirmed he would run in the next election and would support Netanyahu until then.[25]

On 24 November 2019, Sa'ar asked the Likud Central Committee to schedule a party leadership race within two weeks, allowing the winner to try to form a coalition government before the Knesset would be dissolved which would trigger new Knesset elections, the third in a year.[26] After the Knesset was dissolved and elections set for 2 March 2020, leadership elections were set for 26 December 2019. Sa'ar received the endorsement of a few Likud Members of Knesset, including Haim Katz, the powerful head of the Likud central committee.[27][28] Netanyahu was endorsed by Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan while Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein declined to endorse either candidate.[29]

During the campaign, Netanyahu's campaign slammed Sa'ar on Twitter saying he "has aligned with the Left and the media in order to remove the prime minister from the leadership of the state".[29] At a conference the week before, Sa'ar had spoken against the "two state illusion" and criticized Netanyahu for offering territorial concessions to the Palestinians despite them being uninterested in peace talks, saying, "“Around the world, the words "two-state solution" remain a kind of certificate of acceptance. I have to tell you this is not a helpful position." [30]

As widely expected, Netanyahu won handily with 72.5% to Sa'ar's 27.5%.[31]

Views and opinions[edit]

Sa'ar is opposed to a two-state solution,[32][33] arguing “There is no two-state solution; there is at most a two-state slogan,”[34] and that it would be “a mistake to return to the idea of establishing a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria as a solution to the conflict.”[35] He has expressed support for a long-term solution involving Jordan.[36][37] He supports an annexation of the West Bank, while also being willing to support Palestinian autonomy in a federation with Jordan.[38]

As a teenager, Saar joined the ultra-nationalist Tehiya movement protesting the evacuation of Israeli settlements in the Sinai peninsula as per the 1982 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.[38]


  1. ^ Gil Shefler (7 February 2011). "Bukharan Jews celebrate their heritage in TA gathering". The Jerusalem Post.
  2. ^ Efrat Neuman (17 April 2014). "In the name of Zionism, change your name". Haaretz.
  3. ^ "Getting Israel Back On Track". The Times of Israel. 21 August 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  4. ^ "Gideon Sa'ar - JCFK". Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  5. ^ "Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar Weds Journalist Geula Even". Haaretz. 17 May 2013.
  6. ^ "Gideon Sa'ar". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  7. ^ "Likud faction adopts proposal facilitating passage of budget". Haaretz. 21 March 2005.
  8. ^ Zvi Zrahiya (22 November 2006). "Bill proposes 6-month jail term for firing pregnant employees". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 26 November 2006.
  9. ^ Tamara Traubmann (28 January 2007). "Ministerial committee approves bill banning animal testing for cosmetics". Haaretz.
  10. ^ Mazal Mualem (9 December 2008). "Netanyahu 'stars' dim on Likud list, as hawks dominate primary". Haaretz.
  11. ^ "Netanyahu sworn in as Israel's prime minister". Haaretz. 31 March 2009.
  12. ^ Gil Hoffman, Lahav Harkov "Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar Announces Plans to Quit Government" The Jerusalem Post, 17 September 2014
  13. ^ Jonathan Lis "Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar to Take 'Time-Out' From Political Life" Haaretz, 17 September 2014
  14. ^ Jonathan Lis, "Likud No. 2 to take break from cabinet and Knesset after the Jewish holidays", Haaretz, 17 September 2014.
  15. ^ Staff writer (3 April 2017). "Former senior Likud minister Sa'ar announces return to politics". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  16. ^ Newman, Marissa (3 April 2017). "With disarming return to politics, Sa'ar gives Netanyahu little cause to fret". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  17. ^ "Poll: If Netanyahu doesn't run, Gideon Sa'ar is the preferred right-wing candidate". Ynet. 8 June 2017. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  18. ^ Jonathan Lis; Noa Shpigel (3 April 2017). "Netanyahu's Biggest Likud Rival Gideon Sa'ar Announces Return to Politics". Haaretz. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Could this man be Israel's next Prime Minister?". The Washington Post. 27 June 2017.
  20. ^ Hoffman, Gil (22 September 2017). "Gideon Sa'ar — Will he return from political exile to lead?". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  21. ^ Hoffman, Gil (9 September 2018). "25. Gideon Sa'ar, Israel Katz, and Gilad Erdan". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  22. ^ Lis, Jonathan (3 October 2019). "Israel Election Results: Netanyahu Considers Snap Primary to Dispel 'Rebellion Illusion'; Likud Rival: I'm Ready". Haaretz. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  23. ^ Hoffman, Gil (3 October 2019). "Netanyahu quashes 'coup' to unseat him". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  24. ^ Raoul Wootliff (3 October 2019). "Netanyahu mulls snap Likud leadership primary; Sa'ar signals he'll challenge him". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  25. ^ "Sa'ar confirms he will take on Netanyahu once Likud calls contest". The Times of Israel. 3 October 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  26. ^ Staff writer (24 November 2019). "Netanyahu challenger Sa'ar formally requests snap vote for Likud leader". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  27. ^ Hoffman, Gil (15 December 2019). "MK Gideon Sa'ar obtains key endorsement ahead of Likud primary". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  28. ^ Prince, Cathryn J. (15 December 2019). "Sharren Haskel becomes 4th Likud MK to endorse Sa'ar for party leadership". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  29. ^ a b Hoffman, Gil (24 December 2019). "Netanyahu, Sa'ar prepare for Thursday's Likud showdown". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  30. ^ Harkov, Lahav (15 December 2019). "Gideon Sa'ar: Netanyahu agreed to 'two state illusion'". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  31. ^ Wootliff, Raoul (27 December 2019). "Netanyahu quashes Likud leadership challenge from Sa'ar with over 72%". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  32. ^ Attila Somfalvi (24 December 2012). "Minister Sa'ar to Ynet: No to Palestinian state". Ynet. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  33. ^ Daniel J. Roth (30 April 2018). "Ex-minister Gideon Sa'ar rejects 'two-state solution trap'". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  34. ^ Ahren, Raphael; Horovitz, David (20 March 2018). "Gideon Sa'ar: Instead of new settlements, build up existing ones". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  35. ^ Azulay, Moran (28 June 2017). "Gideon Sa'ar warns American Jews two-state solution 'a mistake'". ynetnews. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  36. ^ "Opinion - Why the 'Jordanian Option' Won't Die". The New York Times. 21 September 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  37. ^ Saar, Gideon (6 July 2018). "Oslo is obsolete: Time for a victory mindset". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  38. ^ a b Gil Yaron (21 December 2019). Straights Gimes Missing or empty |title= (help)

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