Gantz, Sa’ar to run as partners in upcoming Israeli election

According to the latest polls, Sa’ar’s New Hope party is not likely to pass the threshold for election to the Knesset.

By Associated Press and World Israel News Staff

The leaders of two parties in Israel’s outgoing government coalition announced Sunday that they would run as political partners in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The announcement by Gideon Sa’ar (New Hope) and Benny Gantz (Blue and White) was the first shift in Israel’s political landscape since the Knesset voted to dissolve itself June 30 and send the country back to the polls to elect a new parliament.

Israel will hold its fifth elections in under four years in November after the government headed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett collapsed last month. The previous four elections were largely referendums on longtime leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s fitness to serve as prime minister while under indictment for corruption.

Gantz, a former army chief of staff, serves as Israel’s defense minister. Sa’ar is a former member of the once-dominant Likud party who broke ranks and formed his New Hope party. He is currently justice minister.

Both were key members of the alliance of eight diverse parties that joined forces last year to oust former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu after 12 years in office.

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Gantz said that the two parties were joining forces to provide voters with a strong centrist option to help end the country’s protracted political crisis.

“Today, we are laying the foundation of the next government,” he said.

Sa’ar said the aim was to break the political deadlock and form “a broad national unity government that is not dependent upon the fringes.” He said that Gantz was best suited to lead as prime minister.

In a similar effort in 2019, Gantz (Blue and White) merged with Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) in order to defeat then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, agreeing to lead as prime minister on a rotational basis should they win the election.

Also top in that list were Gabi Ashkenazi (Blue and White), who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Moshe Ya’alon (Telem).

After three successive elections with no clear winner, the list broke up and Gantz agreed to form a government with Netanyahu, serving as defense minister.

Despite the current merger with Sa’ar, Gantz did not rule out serving again with Netanyahu should he return to the premiership.