Sa’ar Says Netanyahu Supported Term Limits Six Months Ago

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu offered New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar to support the enactment of term limits for the prime minister six months ago, Sa’ar revealed Monday at a meeting of his faction in the Knesset.

Netanyahu has spoken out strongly against term limits. But Sa’ar said that when they spoke in private, Netanyahu spoke differently.

“When he courted me to form a government with him and offered me a rotation in the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu not only agreed to term limits, he even agreed to make them retroactive,” Sa’ar said.

Sa’ar’s bill calling for eight-year term limits is not retroactive, so it would not apply to the years that Netanyahu has already been prime minister.

“Netanyahu says the bill is not democratic, but I guess it was democratic back then,” Sa’ar said. “Netanyahu is in another world. He does not understand the change that has happened without a government.

Israel’s Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar is seen speaking at the Jerusalem Post’s annual conference at the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem on October 12, 2021 (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI / MAARIV).

Minutes before Sa’ar spoke, Netanyahu criticized the term limit bill at a meeting of the Likud faction. He asked Sa’ar to resign the bill in the name of democracy.

“The parties in the government are going down in the polls and the opposition parties are going up in the polls, so the government is proposing a term limit bill that belongs to Iran or Syria,” Netanyahu said.

“Term limits are not a question of right and left, but of democracy,” Michaeli, who sponsored a bill on the issue three years ago, told his faction.

The bill was approved in the Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday and is expected to be voted on in a preliminary reading at the Knesset plenum next week.

The coalition fought on Monday for a bill that would allow houses built illegally in the Bedouin sector to be connected to the national power grid. The head of the Knesset Interior Committee, Waleed Taha of the Ra’am (United Arab List) Party, made changes to the bill to make it more lenient.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) said the changes were unacceptable. A meeting of Taha’s committee on the bill ended without a vote.

The leader of the Religious Zionist Party, Bezalel Smotrich, told the committee that Shaked would yield to Taha and allow the changes he requested to be made.

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