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Gideon Sa’ar

(1966 - )

Gideon Sa’ar is an Israeli politician born in Tel Aviv on December 9, 1966. 

Sa’ar’s father made aliyah to Israel in 1965 from Argentina, and Gideon grew up primarily in Tel Aviv, but as a child, he lived for several years in Mitzpe Ramon, where his father worked as a pediatrician and in Kibbutz Sde Boker, where he was the kibbutz doctor. 

At the time, Sde Boker was the residence of Israel’s founding Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion. His father was frequently in contact with Ben-Gurion as the kibbutz doctor, and the young Gideon Sa’ar met Ben-Gurion numerous times when accompanying his father on visits to his home, during which Ben-Gurion gave him geography quizzes. 

After serving in the Israel Defense Forces as an intelligence NCO in the Golani Brigade, Sa’ar studied political science at Tel Aviv University and then studied law at the same institution.

Sa’ar was an aide to the Attorney-General (1995-1997) and the State Attorney (1997-1998). Before entering politics, he served as Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet secretary (1999, 2001-2002).

Elected to the Knesset in 2003, he has served as Likud Parliamentary Group Chairman and was an active lobbyist. He was a member of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, the House Committee, the Committee for Immigration, Absorption, and Diaspora Affairs, and Chairman of the Committee on the Status of Women. In the 17th Knesset (2006-2009), he also served as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset.

Sa’ar was appointed Minister of Education in March 2009, a post he held until 2013. That year, he was appointed as Minister of Internal Affairs.

In September 2014, Sa’ar announced that he would resign before the next election but remained a member of the Likud. He left the Knesset on November 5.

On April 3, 2017, Sa’ar announced his return to politics and intention to run in the Likud primaries. He was seen as a potential candidate for party leadership and eventually prime minister but could not wrest control of the party from Prime Minister Netanyahu.

In December 2020, Sa’ar announced he would leave Likud and form his own party called New Hope. The party won six seats in the 2021 election, and Sa’ar became Minister of Justice.

In August 2022, Sa’ar and Benny Gantz announced the merger of Kahol Lavan and New Hope and their intention to run jointly in the November election, with Gantz at the top of the ticket and Sa’ar second. Their new party was named HaMahane HaMamlachti.

On October 12, 2023, Sa’ar was sworn in as a minister without portfolio in the Thirty-seventh government of Israel following the outbreak of the 2023 Israel–Hamas war. In March 2024, he announced the breakup of the National Unity Party, demanding to be included in the war cabinet, which he said was not reflecting his views.

Sa’ar is opposed to a two-state solution, arguing “there is at most a two-state slogan” and it would be “a mistake to return to the idea of establishing a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria as a solution to the conflict.”

He has called for the annexation of the West Bank while being open to allowing the Palestinians autonomy in a federation with Jordan.

Sa’ar has photos of Herzl and Jabotinsky on his wall. He explained: “My father came to Israel on the ship that was called Theodor Herzl. He was the founder of a Zionist movement as a practical movement, and within eight years he created a revolution and really changed the history of our people. Jabotinsky is a Zionist leader whose views I believe in—not only in terms of the “iron wall” and other ideas connected to the struggle of Zionism, but also [regarding] liberal issues of equality between men and women for example. And this is what I believe.”

In May 2013, Sa’ar married Israeli news anchor Geula Even, with whom he has two children.

“I am a proud Jew and a proud Zionist,” he told the Washington Institute. I dedicate my life to the State of Israel. I served as an infantry soldier, and I am still serving my country as a public servant. I am a husband and a father; I have four kids. I also have a grandson. The future is important for me, and I can only ensure it by making the future of Israel more prosperous.”

Sources: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Gideon Sa’ar, Wikipedia.
“New Leadership For Israel? A Conversation With Gideon Saar,” Washington Institute, (February 10, 2021).
Eliav Breuer and Roman Meitav, “Gantz and Sa’ar sign political merger in bid to take votes from Lapid,” Jerusalem Post, (July 11, 2022).
Sam Sokol, “Gideon Sa’ar announces breakup of National Unity alliance with Gantz, demands seat on war cabinet,” Times of Israel, March 12, 2024).