Jump to content

Gideon Sa'ar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gideon Sa'ar
Sa'ar in 2023
Ministerial roles
2009–2013Minister of Education
2013–2014Minister of the Interior
2021Deputy Prime Minister
2021–2022Minister of Justice
2023–2024Minister without portfolio
Faction represented in the Knesset
2021–2022New Hope
2022–2024National Unity
2024–New Hope
Personal details
Born (1966-12-09) 9 December 1966 (age 57)
Tel Aviv, Israel

Gideon Moshe Sa'ar (Hebrew: גדעון משה סער; born 9 December 1966)[1] is an Israeli politician who served as Minister of Justice between 2021 and 2022. Sa'ar was previously a member of the Knesset for the Likud between 2003 and 2014, Deputy Prime Minister for a brief spell in 2021, as well as holding the posts of Education Minister (2009–2013) and Minister of the Interior (2013–2014). In 2019 Sa'ar returned to the Knesset and unsuccessfully ran against longtime leader Benjamin Netanyahu for the leadership of the Likud; he left the Knesset the following year after establishing a new party called New Hope.


Gideon Moshe Serchensky (later Sa'ar) was born in Tel Aviv.[1] His mother Bruriah is a Mizrahi-Bukharan Jew who is the 7th generation of her family in Israel. His father Shmuel is an Ashkenazi Jew who was born in Ukraine and moved to Argentina as a child before immigrating to Israel. He has two siblings, a brother and a sister. His father was a doctor. Sa'ar grew up primarily in Tel Aviv, but as a child, he lived for a number of years in Mitzpe Ramon, where his father worked as a pediatrician, and in kibbutz Sde Boker, where he was the kibbutz doctor. At the time, Sde Boker was the residence of Israel's founding prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. His father was frequently in contact with Ben-Gurion as the kibbutz doctor, and the young Gideon Sa'ar met Ben-Gurion numerous times when accompanying his father on visits to his home, during which Ben-Gurion gave him geography quizzes.[2][3] 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.[4][5]

In May 2013, Sa'ar married Israeli news anchor Geula Even, with whom he has two children, David and Shira. Geula was born to Lithuanian-Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union. Sa'ar has another two children, Alona and Daniela, from his first wife Shelly, as well as one grandchild.[6]

Political career[edit]

Sa'ar addresses Likud gathering in 2010

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.[7] 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.[8]

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,[9] (he chaired the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women) and to ban cosmetics testing on animals.[10]

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 Benjamin Netanyahu.[11] He retained his seat, and was appointed Minister of Education on 31 March.[12]

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; with rumors of an alleged sexual harassments background for his sudden resignation.[13] He said he would still remain a member of the Likud.[14][15] On 17 September, he took a hiatus from politics.[16] 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.[17][18][19][20][21]

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".[22] In September 2018, he was ranked 25th along with fellow Likud members Yisrael Katz and Gilad Erdan.[23]

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."[24][25][26] After Netanyahu decided against holding a leadership election, Sa'ar confirmed he would run in the next election and would support Netanyahu until then.[27]

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.[28] 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.[29][30] Netanyahu was endorsed by Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan while Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein declined to endorse either candidate.[31]

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".[31] 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."[32]

As widely expected, Netanyahu won handily with 72.5% to Sa'ar's 27.5%.[33]

New Hope[edit]

US President Joe Biden with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Gideon Sa'ar and other Israeli officials in Tel Aviv, Israel, 13 July 2022

In December 2020, Sa'ar announced that he would leave Likud and will form his own party, called New Hope.[34] He submitted his Knesset resignation on 9 December, which went into effect on 11 December.[35] The party contested the 2021 Israeli legislative election, with the intent of forming a governing coalition, and removing Netanyahu from office.[36] He regained his seat in the Knesset, as New Hope gained six seats at the elections.[37] Following the election, Sa'ar became Minister of Justice in the thirty-sixth government of Israel.[38]

On July 10, 2022, Sa'ar announced that New Hope would form an electoral alliance with Benny Gantz's Blue and White, to be named National Unity. Sa'ar was second on the list.[39] National Unity contested the 2022 Israeli legislative election, where it placed fourth with 12 seats and did not join the thirty-seventh government.

Following the outbreak of the 2023 Israel–Hamas war, Sa'ar was one of five members of National Unity to join the emergency war government. Sa'ar was sworn in as a minister without portfolio on 12 October 2023.[40] On March 12, Sa'ar announced that New Hope would leave the National Unity alliance.[41] On 16 March, Sa'ar threatened to withdraw New Hope from the coalition if Prime Minister Netanyahu did not appoint him to the war cabinet;[42] Netanyahu did not do so, and nine days later, Sa'ar and the rest of New Hope left the government.[43]

Views and opinions[edit]

Sa'ar has stated that he is opposed to a two-state solution,[44][45] arguing "There is no two-state solution; there is at most a two-state slogan",[46] 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."[47] He has expressed support for a long-term solution involving Jordan.[48][49] He supported annexation of the West Bank, and supported the idea of Palestinian autonomy in a federation with Jordan.[50] In 2020 he declared "Between the Jordan River and the sea there won’t be another independent state".[51]

As a teenager, Saar joined the ultra-nationalist Tehiya movement protesting the 1982 evacuation of Israeli settlements in the Sinai Peninsula as per the Egypt–Israel peace treaty.[50]

On 14 October 2023, in an interview with Israel's Channel 12 News, Sa'ar said that the Gaza Strip "must be smaller at the end" of the war between Israel and Hamas, stating "Whoever starts a war against Israel must lose territory."[52]


  1. ^ a b "Knesset Member Gideon Sa'ar". Knesset. Retrieved 19 April 2024.
  2. ^ Neuman, Efrat (17 April 2014). "In the name of Zionism, change your name". Haaretz.
  3. ^ Pfeffer, Anshel (9 December 2020). "Cool Tel Avivian or Pro-settler Nationalist? Netanyahu Could Be Ousted by This Man". Haaretz. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  4. ^ "Getting Israel Back On Track". The Times of Israel. 21 August 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  5. ^ "Gideon Sa'ar - JCFK". www.jcfk.org. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  6. ^ "Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar Weds Journalist Geula Even". Haaretz. 17 May 2013.
  7. ^ "Gideon Sa'ar". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  8. ^ "Likud faction adopts proposal facilitating passage of budget". Haaretz. 21 March 2005.
  9. ^ Zrahiya, Zvi (22 November 2006). "Bill proposes 6-month jail term for firing pregnant employees". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 26 November 2006.
  10. ^ Traubmann, Tamara (28 January 2007). "Ministerial committee approves bill banning animal testing for cosmetics". Haaretz.
  11. ^ Mualem, Mazal (9 December 2008). "Netanyahu 'stars' dim on Likud list, as hawks dominate primary". Haaretz.
  12. ^ "Netanyahu sworn in as Israel's prime minister". Haaretz. 31 March 2009.
  13. ^ Harkov, Lahav (20 February 2013). "Sa'ar may resign over sex scandal". The Jerusalem Post.
  14. ^ Hoffman, Gil; Harkov, Lahav (17 September 2014). "Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar Announces Plans to Quit Government". The Jerusalem Post.
  15. ^ Lis, Jonathan (17 September 2014). "Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar to Take 'Time-Out' From Political Life". Haaretz.
  16. ^ Lis, Jonathan (17 September 2014). "Likud No. 2 to take break from cabinet and Knesset after the Jewish holidays". Haaretz.
  17. ^ Staff writer (3 April 2017). "Former senior Likud minister Sa'ar announces return to politics". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ "Poll: If Netanyahu doesn't run, Gideon Sa'ar is the preferred right-wing candidate". Ynet. 8 June 2017. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  20. ^ Lis, Jonathan; Shpigel, Noa (3 April 2017). "Netanyahu's Biggest Likud Rival Gideon Sa'ar Announces Return to Politics". Haaretz. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  21. ^ Eglash, Ruth (27 June 2017). "Could this man be Israel's next Prime Minister?". The Washington Post.
  22. ^ Hoffman, Gil (22 September 2017). "Gideon Sa'ar — Will he return from political exile to lead?". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  23. ^ Hoffman, Gil (9 September 2018). "25. Gideon Sa'ar, Israel Katz, and Gilad Erdan". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ Hoffman, Gil (3 October 2019). "Netanyahu quashes 'coup' to unseat him". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  26. ^ Wootliff, Raoul (3 October 2019). "Netanyahu mulls snap Likud leadership primary; Sa'ar signals he'll challenge him". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  27. ^ "Sa'ar confirms he will take on Netanyahu once Likud calls contest". The Times of Israel. 3 October 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  28. ^ Staff writer (24 November 2019). "Netanyahu challenger Sa'ar formally requests snap vote for Likud leader". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  29. ^ Hoffman, Gil (15 December 2019). "MK Gideon Sa'ar obtains key endorsement ahead of Likud primary". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  30. ^ 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.
  31. ^ a b Hoffman, Gil (24 December 2019). "Netanyahu, Sa'ar prepare for Thursday's Likud showdown". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  32. ^ Harkov, Lahav (15 December 2019). "Gideon Sa'ar: Netanyahu agreed to 'two state illusion'". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  33. ^ Wootliff, Raoul (27 December 2019). "Netanyahu quashes Likud leadership challenge from Sa'ar with over 72%". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  34. ^ "Gideon Sa'ar quits Likud, 'a tool for Netanyahu's interests,' to lead new party". The Times of Israel. 8 December 2020. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  35. ^ Hoffman, Gil (9 December 2020). "Gideon Sa'ar resigns from Knesset". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  36. ^ "N12 - סער: "נקים ועדת חקירה ממלכתית לבדיקת מחדלי הקורונה"". N12. 18 January 2021. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  37. ^ "תוצאות האמת של הבחירות לכנסת ה-24". votes24.bechirot.gov.il (in Hebrew). Central Elections Committee. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  38. ^ "Who's who in the Bennett-Lapid government". The Times of Israel. 12 June 2021. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  39. ^ Staff writer; Eliav Breuer (14 August 2022). "Eisenkot joins Gantz, Sa'ar in National Unity Party". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on 14 August 2022. Retrieved 13 March 2024.
  40. ^ Carrie Keller-Lynn (12 October 2023). "Knesset okays war cabinet; PM: Saturday 'most horrible day for Jews since Holocaust'". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 13 October 2023.
  41. ^ Sokol, Sam (12 March 2024). "Sa'ar splits from Gantz's National Unity party, demands seat in war cabinet". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 13 March 2024.
  42. ^ Staff writer (16 March 2024). "Sa'ar threatens to bolt coalition unless Netanyahu puts him in war cabinet very soon". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 18 March 2024.
  43. ^ Sokol, Sam (25 March 2024). "Gideon Sa'ar quits coalition after Netanyahu fails to appoint him to war cabinet". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 26 March 2024.
  44. ^ Attila Somfalvi (24 December 2012). "Minister Sa'ar to Ynet: No to Palestinian state". Ynet. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  45. ^ Roth, Daniel J. (30 April 2018). "Ex-minister Gideon Sa'ar rejects 'two-state solution trap'". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  46. ^ 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.
  47. ^ Azulay, Moran (28 June 2017). "Gideon Sa'ar warns American Jews two-state solution 'a mistake'". ynetnews. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  48. ^ Rosner, Shmuel (21 September 2018). "Opinion - Why the 'Jordanian Option' Won't Die". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  49. ^ Saar, Gideon (6 July 2018). "Oslo is obsolete: Time for a victory mindset". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  50. ^ a b Yaron, Gil (21 December 2019). "Netanyahu faces 'popular' challenger in Likud race". The Straits Times. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  51. ^ Sales, Ben (8 November 2023). "'From the river to the sea': The slogan that led to Rashida Tlaib's censure, explained". The Forward. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  52. ^ Roth, Kenneth (16 October 2023). "Israel appears to be on the verge of ethnic cleansing in Gaza". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 March 2024.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]