Looking for Gideon’s men: 7 things to know for May 17

After Gideon Sa’ar bashes Netanyahu’s immunity push, many ask where are all the others who back him, and whether they will have the courage (or temerity) to come out as well

Former interior minister Gideon Sa’ar in the Knesset,

Joshua Davidovich writes in Times of Israel:

1. The lonely man of Likud: Former Likud minister and Benjamin Netanyahu frenemy Gideon Sa’ar has ignited a storm by coming out against the prime minister’s reported plan to pursue legislative immunity.

  • Sa’ar tells Channel 12 news that “this legislation offers zero benefit and will cause maximum damage.”
  • He doesn’t come out totally against Netanyahu, though, saying he should be able to stay on even after indicted (he is still a Likudnik and a former Netanyahu ally, after all).
  • Perhaps most explosively, he says he is not alone within the party in opposing the bid for legislative immunity.

2. Sa’ar wars: The reaction to his comments is almost immediate, and falls predictably along party lines.

  • Channel 12 quotes an anonymous source in Likud saying that “Sa’ar is being sanctimonious, and again working to undermine Netanyahu.”
  • On Twitter, Likud MK David Amsalem says simply “Gideon Sa’ar, shame on you.”
  • Likud MK Michal Shir, Sa’ar’s former secretary, tries to straddle the line, claiming that the party doesn’t force members to toe the line and accuses Blue and White of “sending out messages before Sa’ar’s microphone was even cold.”
  • Indeed Blue and White does lead the way in welcoming Sa’ar with several lawmakers from the party praising him and urging more Likud members to come out of the woodwork and back him.
  • MK Izhar Shay writes on Twitter that “based on our conversations with other senior people” Sa’ar won’t be the last to come out against the law.

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