In December 2020, Gideon Sa’ar left Likud to form his own party called
New Hope. Two other members of the Likud, Michal Shir, and Sharron Haskel, joined Sa’ar. They were followed by Minister of Higher Education Ze’ev Elkin, who resigned his post.
Sa’ar hoped to win enough votes to form a right-wing coalition without Likud to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “In order to have, now, a stable government,” he told the Washington Institute, “we need a government that will not rely on extremists.”
“I believe that today, the main challenges of Israel are domestic. Unfortunately, no one is dealing with them right now. I am speaking about bringing back stability, which is not only political stability and influence, of course but economic stability, social stability.”
“In terms of our relations with the U.S.,” he said, “we must restore the principle [of] bipartisan support in America, and we must also work with all segments of American civil society.”
Sa’ar opposes the creation of a Palestinian state:
Regarding settlements, Sa’ar said,
I totally oppose evacuation of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. I think this idea belongs to the past. It was proven it was not contributing to stability, to peace. We must find out how to live together. I don’t think to uproot communities, Jewish or Arab, is helpful to the cause of peace.
I support the idea of implementing the Israeli law over our communities in Judea and Samaria. It is something that continues to be an Israeli objective. I am not speaking about the Palestinian populated areas; I am speaking about our communities. We have there a half of a million of our residents and they should live under the Israeli law.
Sa’ar also believes peace requires a regional approach: “I think that it is very important to combine our neighboring states, Jordan and Egypt, in the solutions themselves….I think on certain issues we can have trilateral agreements: on tourism, the economy, the environment, and other issues. We must try to find an alternative with these two principles of separation and of autonomy without the ability to hurt our security, and a regional component.”
When asked about the situation of Israeli Arabs, he said, “The challenge is integration. I think today we have more and more [Arab] Israeli citizens that feel they want to be integrated into the state and to have futures for their kids.”
“In terms of the ultra-orthodox community, we also have challenges. As the minister of education in the past, I promoted higher education. Among the ultraorthodox, I opened educational [and] professional schools for students that dropped from the world of the Torah, from yeshiva. And I think we should do more in order to integrate them into the economic sector and in our society….When I was minister of education I dealt, for example, with how we can create equal opportunities for the girls who are learning in the ultraorthodox system, in order that they will easily be integrated in higher education, and also in work.”
After the Bennett government collapsed in June 2022, Sa’ar and Benny Gantz announced the merger of Kahol Lavan and New Hope and their intention to run jointly in the next election, with Gantz at the top of the ticket and Sa’ar second. Sa’ar described the joint venture as the embodiment of the “stately right and security center.”
Gantz said the two parties would establish a “responsible, realistic, secure, and liberal” government. Such a coalition, he said, will “say no to racism, no to extremism, and yes to unity for all parts of the country and all types of citizens… ultra-Orthodox, Orthodox, secular; Muslims, Christians, Druze, and Jews.” Gantz added that voters “shouldn’t have to pick from the extremes.”
One reason for the merger was the belief that Netanyahu would defeat Yair Lapid. The new party hopes to attract votes from the center-right who would not vote for either man. They also are more open to a coalition with the religious parties who despise Lapid. While Sa’ar and Gantz remain critical of Netanyahu, they did not rule out a partnership with him.
Party Platform 2021
Hope for the economy - 5 points to get out of the crisis
“New Hope” will jumpstart the economy and return Israel to a path of growth.
A thriving economy is the result of entrepreneurship. The Israeli economy can grow much more if we only allow Israelis to express their entrepreneurial spirit and make it easier for them to do business.
To help businesses revitalize the economy and resume growth, especially after the Corona crisis, we will resolutely implement our economic plan, which consists of three principles:
The three principles of the program are:
- Immediate solutions
The 5-point plan is the basis for the entire economic plan of New Hope.
1. Hope for growth
The economic plan of “New Hope” - Hope for the Economy - will remove the economic constraints that hinder growth, encouraging an innovative and free economy that attracts minds and investments worldwide.
- We will promote a digital revolution and move to advanced information technologies in government services in accordance with the Estonian model: a government without paper and without queues.
- We will set a target of 250,000 immigrants over the next 5 years, and we will make Israel a center of attraction for minds and talents from around the world.
- We will advance the field of technology and establish Israel as the capital of global technological innovation.
This will lead to 23% growth of Israel’s economy in 5 years.
2. Hope for infrastructure
Israel is in the lower tertiary of infrastructure investment amongst Western countries.
The Hope for the Economy program will help the private market to the development momentum of infrastructure, as an engine of growth and a source of hundreds of thousands of jobs.
- We will increase our investment in infrastructure by 35% per year through the participation of the private sector.
- We will promote Smart Cities.
- We will encourage the establishment of infrastructure funds in cooperation with Israeli and international institutional bodies.
- We will invest in national infrastructure for transportation, connecting the train network to all major Israeli cities within 5 years.
- We will clean and upgrade communications and cyber infrastructures, which will reduce the gaps between the center and the periphery and make every citizen in Israel accessible to the fastest Internet in the world.
3. Hope for employment
There are almost a million people unemployed today in Israel [translator's note: this number has decreased massively as the Coronavirus lockdown has lifted]. The government has no plan-and they have no future.
New Hope will reduce the unemployment that peaked in the wake of the Corona and encourage return to work through grants and benefits for employers who return workers as well as the workers themselves.
- We will create broad professional training relevant to the advanced labor market, carried out by the free market with government incentives.
- We will award vouchers for children and adults to study English, Science, programming, finance, and double the number of people employed in advanced industries within 10 years.
In this way, we will reduce the gap in labor productivity vis-à-vis the West, and bring about an increase in the average wage in the economy to NIS 13,500 within 4 years.
4. Hope for the self-employed
Small and medium-sized businesses are the best growth engine for the economy. “New Hope” will make Israel a country where small and medium-sized businesses are at the center.
- Protect the self-employed and provide them with a social safety net as a rainy day fund.
- We will open the Israeli market to competition by lowering import barriers and creating incentives for exports, in addition to adopting international standards, to increase the opening of new businesses by 20% per year.
- We will shorten procurement processes and promote green routes to strategic areas.
- We will establish a permanent headquarters for the war on bureaucracy in the Prime Minister's Office, which will cut red tape and allow regulation that will prevent market failures, in order to encourage the establishment of new businesses.
This will increase competition and lower the cost of living.
5. Hope for the Periphery
In the last decade there has been a lot of talk about the periphery, but very little action. In practice, the gap between the center and the periphery is only growing. The New Hope economic program will promote equal opportunities for all citizens of the country and launch the geographical periphery to new heights.
We will turn Israeli’s periphery into a magnet for entrepreneurs and a large populace through grants, tax benefits, quality education and a high quality of life. Here’s how:
- We will invest in the periphery by strengthening urban metropolitan areas and making them more accessible for transportation, education, and employment.
- We will set up investment funds the periphery and its people by comparing the employment rate to that in Israel’s center.
- We will create quality jobs in the periphery region.
This is how we will really promote the periphery.
Gideon Sa’ar, Wikipedia“.
“New Leadership For Israel? A Conversation With Gideon Saar,” Washington Institute, (February 10, 2021).
“Gantz and Saar agree to merge parties for elections,” BICOM, (July 11, 2022).
“Blue and White, New Hope announce union, will run as joint slate in November vote,” Times of Israel, (July 10, 2022).