Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar said that he strongly opposes a US consulate being opened in east Jerusalem that will exclusively serve Palestinians, in a conversation with Editor-in-Chief Yaakov Katz at the Jerusalem Post Conference on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is on the same page, Sa’ar added.
The justice minister also discussed two news bills that will come up to be voted on by the current government in the near future, which could prevent opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu from running for prime minister again.
These are not personal against Netanyahu, Sa’ar said, but are targeted at ending the growing problematic idea that only an indicted person can be prime minister, he said.
Sa’ar said, “mayors cannot continue with an indictment; ministers cannot continue with an indictment… so there is a crucial question whether this is the new ideology that [only] a prime minister” can take office if he has an indictment, like Netanyahu.
“I believe the opposition to this bill is personal, and the motivation for this kind of legislation is to bring the right values and norms to our public life,” said the justice minister in criticizing the Likud’s sticking to Netanyahu as their sole candidate for prime minister.
What Sa’ar was doing was trying to flip the script on the Likud.
Netanyahu has slammed Sa’ar and the government for trying to pass the two new bills, claiming that they are trying to eliminate him as a rival who could replace the current governing coalition.
In contrast, Sa’ar’s argument is that Netanyahu and the Likud are opposing these two laws that are clearly better for Israeli democracy, only because he refuses to step down as his party’s leader, despite the ongoing public corruption trial against him.
In his first reaction to MK Yuli Edelstein’s challenge to Netanyahu, Sa’ar said his New Hope Party could work together with a new Likud leader.
Edelstein said for the first time on TV on Monday that he will run for Likud leader, urging that a primary be held soon.
“If Likud will bring another candidate, it will be natural to cooperate, not only for New Hope but for other parties,” he said. “Everything’s open. If they elect another leader, everything will be open. Yuli is right” by saying that the party’s “keeping Netanyahu will keep Likud in the opposition.”