Most of the people on this list are here because of their accomplishments in their careers.
That is not true of Gideon Sa’ar, Israel Katz or Gilad Erdan. They may or may not have achieved a lot, but they are here due to sheer potential.
Sooner or later, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will leave office, and someone is going to have to succeed him. Whoever leads Netanyahu’s Likud Party will have the best chance, because it is the ruling party, and most of the public agrees with its views.
Whenever the Likud primary takes place – whether in January 2019 or 2023 – many, many people are going to run. There have been only four leaders of Likud and its forerunner, Herut, in more than 80 years, so it’s a post with unquestionable job security.
Anyone who sees himself as head of Likud in the next 20 years has an interest in running now. After all, in a race with more than 10 candidates and a small voting body of Likud members, almost anything can happen.
Sa’ar, Katz and Erdan are here because they are the most definite candidates. However, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Culture Minister Miri Regev, who sparred over this past year’s Independence Day torch-lighting ceremony, are also gearing up to run.
Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi and Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter have both said they see themselves as Likud leader in the post-Netanyahu era.
Far away but not forgotten is current Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon. MK Oren Hazan will run, in a candidacy that will embarrass the party more than himself. Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon should run but won’t, because he foolishly burned his bridges in the party due to his ego.
But back to Sa’ar, Katz and Erdan. Sa’ar might have made his political comeback too early. He speaks a lot all over the country for someone without a job, and it remains to be seen whether this exposure is helping him.
Katz has an interest in the next election taking place as late as possible, because he needs voters to be able to get to their polling place on his crowning achievement, the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv rail line. Its opening has legitimately been delayed for safety reasons, and those still driving an hour and a half to Tel Aviv and looking for parking for half an hour are growing impatient for that long-promised 28-minute ride.
Erdan received the unenviable task of taking over a police force in disarray, and it has not reflected well on him. He has been fighting the boycott Israel movement in America, which is nice, but it has not scored him too many political points at home.
It remains to be seen whether Sa’ar, Katz or Erdan is ready for Netanyahu’s departure. Netanyahu’s successor may be doomed to failure regardless of who he is. Perhaps opening the Likud’s ranks to leaders of satellite parties would be a smart long-term decision.