Kafe Knesset for April 5

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Here comes trouble: A day after former Likud Minister Gideon Sa’ar announced his comeback to the political system, the troubles begin. A Channel 10 poll published last night revealed that if the Likud was headed by Sa’ar, it would win more seats than if it was led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to the survey, if an election was held today, the Likud would receive 27 mandates and lose to Yesh Atid , which is projected to get 29 Knesset seats. However, if Sa’ar were to head the Likud, it would receive 29 seats, a tie with Yesh Atid’s 29. Netanyahu is still the clear winner in the question of leadership compatibility, with 23% saying that he is the most suitable to serve as prime minister, followed by Yair Lapid and Sa’ar, with 18% and 11%, respectively. The poll also examined internal Likud preferences, with 68% stating that Netanyahu should head the Likud, and only 13% said Sa’ar was the man. The survey also revealed that if an election was held today, the Joint List would receive 12 seats, and the Zionist Union and the Jewish Home would each have 10 seats, United Torah Judaism and Meretz would each get seven seats, and Shas, Kulanu and Israel Beitenu would each receive six.

According to the poll, Sa’ar is the runner-up for the day after Netanyahu, but it is going to be a tough race. Transportation and intelligence minister Israel Katz stated today that he believes he will be the next Likud leader. Replying to a question regarding Sa’ar’s comeback, Katz said he “is not currently dealing with political issues. Netanyahu is the prime minister, but when he finishes his term, I intend to run for the Likud leadership and the Prime Minister’s office on behalf of the Likud, and I am convinced that I will be elected,” he said.

Return of the Gaza island plan: Katz convened a special press conference today at which he revealed that he was invited to one of Netanyahu’s recent meetings with Jason Greenblatt, at which Katz presented his regional economic initiatives. These initiatives include an artificial island off of the Gaza Strip and a grandiose railway plan to link Israel with Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. According to Katz, Greenblatt said that he “deeply appreciated the plans” and added that he would work to enlist the President’s support. Katz has been promoting a plan to establish an artificial island about five miles from the coast of Gaza for months, but Netanyahu has not yet brought the plan to a cabinet vote. However, Katz believes that his invitation to the Greenblatt meeting is reason for hope. “I told Mr. Greenblatt that I do not need US money, but rather their support and lead to rally up other countries to join in,” Katz said, adding that he was also initiating contacts with other countries in the region and the world – including Arab countries – to enlist their cooperation. “Naturally, regarding the Arab side, I will not elaborate, but they are not unfamiliar with these ideas and there are significant discussions, so I am optimistic about the ability to advance forward,” Katz said. “This will contribute to Israel’s economy, Jordan’s economy and the economies of the Arab states,” Katz said, stressing the potential for economic change for the Palestinians. “This can connect the Palestinians not only to the port of Haifa, but also to the Arab region, and can help neutralize the security threat, by giving them a connection to the world.”

Oops, she did it again: Britney Spears is playing her first-ever concert in Israel on July 3. If you’re wondering why this is relevant to Kafe Knesset, well, let’s just say that that fact is “not that innocent,” because July 3 was also the planned date of the Labor leadership primary. The party that tends to have a “Toxic” relationship with its leaders decided to reschedule the vote because of Britney’s show. Not that many of Labor’s elderly members are actually expected to attend the concert, but Tel Aviv goes into “Crazy” gridlock when there is a concert, and since Tel Aviv is where many left-wing voters – including party leader Isaac Herzog – reside, they’ll have a problem getting to the polls. Plus, apparently, they had trouble finding enough security guards, because so many were hired to keep “all eyes on [Britney] in the center ring.” So now, Herzog will ask Labor members, “From the Bottom of [His] Broken Heart,” to make him “stronger than yesterday” and elect him as leader “Baby One More Time” on July 5.

Bibi-Bougie blooper: Remember when, before the 2015 election, Herzog said on TV that he will protect a “united Netanyahu?” Well, Netanyahu just returned the favor. In a memorial for Herzog’s father, former Israeli president and U.N. ambassador, Chaim Herzog, Bibi said: “Isaac Herzog is one of those who paved the path to our independence.” Oops.

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