Fresh off strong primary, Gideon Sa’ar is preferred Likud heir to Netanyahu

Returning to political life, Gideon Sa’ar holds a solid lead over other Likud members.

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News

On the heels of the Likud primary vote on Tuesday which placed him in the 5th spot on the party’s list for the upcoming parliamentary ballot, Gideon Sa’ar – a former interior and education minister who is returning after taking a break from public life – has come away as the most popular name in a poll on whom Israelis wish to see as the successor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the next Likud leader.

It is not clear when this scenario will become a reality. Netanyahu remains Likud chairman and is slated to fill the top position of the Likud list for the April 9th Knesset election. However, his political future faces some uncertainty ahead of an anticipated announcement by the attorney general on whether the prime minister is to be indicted amid multiple corruption investigations in which Netanyahu has been implicated by police.

He has accused Sa’ar of working on a plan to unseat him as prime minister, assuming the Likud would prevail in the April ballot. Sa’ar has rejected the assertion. Netanyahu called on Likud members not to vote for Sa’ar in Tuesday’s primary.

A poll published by the Walla news site on Thursday asks respondents to choose from among Tuesday’s top primary vote-getters in deciding who their preferred candidate to lead the Likud after Netanyahu would be. Among the general public, 33 percent favor Sa’ar, followed in a distant second place by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein at 7 percent.

Among Likud voters participating in the poll, the margin was much narrower, with Sa’ar leading again, but with support from only 19 percent, followed by Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, who garnered 12 percent support.