Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar on Wednesday dismissed “fake news” reports that his New Hope party is in talks with the opposition Likud to form an alternative coalition within the current Knesset.
“There were no negotiations, there are no negotiations and if I was thinking of changing my position, which I am not, then I would openly go before the public and explain why I changed my mind,” said Sa’ar, a longtime Likud -MK who left the party and started his own faction over his opposition to the continued leadership of chairman Benjamin Netanyahu.
Sa’ar made the assertion in an interview with Channel 12, but he pushed the same message in interviews with the other major news broadcasters — the Kan public broadcaster and Channe 13 — and all three aired during primetime.
The media blitz came hours after the Ynet news site reported that Sa’ar was in contact with an associate of Netanyahu, Yaakov Atrakchi. The report said that amid the talks, Likud has ordered a reduction in public attacks on Sa’ar.
Unnamed sources, who were said to have knowledge of the matter, said Sa’ar would be offered a senior portfolio in a potential Netanyahu-led government, such as the Foreign Ministry.
Reminded that before previous elections he said he wouldn’t join a government with Netanyahu, and asked to explicitly repeat that pledge, Sa’ar told Channel 12, “my stance hasn’t changed.”
He refused three times to explicitly repeat that he wouldn’t sit with Netanyahu but then criticized the opposition leader for refusing to support legislation extending Israeli civil