Minister Sa'ar: Poor Relations With PM Encouraged Decision to Quit

Netanyahu offers Minister Gilad Erdan the Interior Ministry following Gideon Sa'ar surprise resignation.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar at a press conference, August 21, 2013.
Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar at a press conference, August 21, 2013.Credit: Moti Milrod
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has offered Communications Minister Gilad Erdan the Interior minister portfolio, following Wednesday's surprising resignation announcement by Gideon Sa'ar.

Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar announced Wednesday evening that he would be taking a "time-out" from political life. Sa'ar said he would resign from both the cabinet and the Knesset after the Jewish holidays.

Erdan, who was also offered to become Israel's next ambassador at the United Nations, has asked for a few days to review his options, but chances are he will agree to replace Sa'ar.

Should he decides to take the offer, Erdan is expected to remain a member of the security cabinet, even though Sa'ar was not.

Netanyahu was quick to offer the position to Erdan in attempt to avoid embarrassment and prevent a situation where a second senior minister leaves the government.

If Erdan would prefer to take the position at the UN, Netanyahu is expected to offer the post to Yuval Steinitz, currently the strategic and intelligence affairs minister.

The leading candidate to take Erdan's place at the Communications ministry is MK Gila Gamliel (Likud), who received a promise from Netanyahu to be appointed a minister "as soon as a position is open." Coalition whip MK Yariv Levin (Likud) had also received a similar commitment from Netanyahu, though he is slated to replace MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) as the head of the prestigious Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in January.

Sa'ar: Poor relations with Netanyahu contributed to decision to quit

Sa'ar admitted that his soured relationship with Netanyahu contributed to his decision to resign. "I can't deny that the relationship [with Netanyahu] is different than it was in the past," he said in an interview on Channel 2 aired Friday evening.

If there is a point in time in which the relationship between the two took a turn for the worse, he said, it was the running up to the presidential elections. When asked if he was disappointed that Netanyahu didn't ask him to reconsider, Sa'ar responded: "When there are no expectations there are no disappointments."

Sa'ar rejected the possibility that he would leave the Likud party and join former Communications Minister Moshe Khalon's future party. He said that after 20 years in public service he is leaving the political sphere and currently has no plans to return, but refused to rule it out as an option.

Communications Minister Gilad Erdan.Credit: Michal Fattal
Social Equality Minister Gila GamlielCredit: Shiran Granot

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