Netanyahu Calls on Rival Saar to ’Return to Likud’ In Bid to Rach Required Seats
By Staff, Agencies
With his prospects of forming a government in doubt, Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday called upon longtime political rival Gideon Saar, the leader of the New Hope party, to join a coalition with Likud in order to allow the formation of a right-wing government.
“This is your home, you will be welcomed with open arms,” Netanyahu wrote to Saar.
Former Likud minister Saar campaigned on a pledge not to join a government led by the incumbent prime minister and has so far rebuffed Netanyahu’s appeals to scrap the promise.
“Likud is your home. You grew up in this home. This is not the time to form a left-wing government,” Netanyahu said in his appeal to the New Hope leader.
Netanyahu also urged Yamina leader Naftali Bennett and Religious Zionism head Betzalel Smotrich to “put all considerations aside” and “establish the right-wing and national government ‘Israel’ so desperately needs.”
With Netanyahu lacking a clear majority following the March 23 election, multiple — and mostly improbable — scenarios have been floated on how to reach the magic number of 61, including relying on outside support from Ra’am, despite opposition from far-right lawmakers including Smotrich; trying to recruit “defectors” from other parties; and trying to get the New Hope party to join such a coalition.
If Netanyahu does not succeed in forming a government by May 4 and so-called President of the Zionist entity Reuven Rivlin does not grant him an extension, the latter can either task a second person with the attempt [for another period of 28 days and a possible additional 14], or send the mandate back to the Knesset, giving the legislature 21 days to agree on a candidate supported by 61 MKs.