Welfare Minister Moshe Kahlon is expected to announce Sunday that he has made a final decision not to run for a Knesset seat in the coming election. Instead, it is reported, he will go the United States and study at Harvard University.
He will remain in the Likud party.
Kahlon made his decision after intense consultations with political friends and with his family. He is also expected to announce that he "never meant to harm Likud."
There has been a media rumor frenzy in the past week, according to which Kahlon plans to run independently. Polls gave him anywhere from 13 to 20 Knesset seats if he were to head such a list, and there was speculation about lists in which he would partner with other politicians. Kahlon's decision to "take a break" from politics is believed to have been preciptated by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's refusal to promise him the post of Finance Minister in teh next government, and a general feeling that Netanyahu does not value him sufficiently.
MK Danny Danon (Likud) praised Kahlon's decision to stay in Likud. "Minister Moshe Kahlon is a true Likudnik," he said. "His activity for the Land of Israel and Judea and Samaria is part of the Likud's DNA."