Daily Israel Report

Left Outraged Over Kahlon Appointment

Labor, Yesh Atid and Hatnua slam Netanyahu over appointing outgoing Minister Moshe Kahlon as head of the Israel Lands Administration.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 1/21/2013, 2:16 AM

Moshe Kahlon
Moshe Kahlon
Flash 90

The left was outraged on Sunday over Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s announcement that outgoing Communications and Welfare Minister, Moshe Kahlon, would be appointed to head the Israel Land Administration (ILA).

The popular Kahlon announced surprisingly a few months ago that he was leaving politics, and it is widely believed that the timing of the announcement of his appointment is related to the upcoming elections and to Likud's faltering state in the polls.

Shelly Yechimovich, head of the Labor party, attacked the decision, saying “The appointment of Kahlon to an idle position is payment for his being a fig leaf for the social hell that Netanyahu is preparing if he's elected, heaven forbid."

Yechimovich added, “It's well-known that Kahlon quit in protest over Netanyahu's cruel economic policy. This is evidence of the panic in which Netanyahu finds himself because of his weakening [in the polls].”

Labor MK Eitan Cabel, who is number three on the party’s Knesset list and also heads the Labor party’s reaction team, said Kahlon’s appointment was against the law and the orders of the attorney general regarding appointments during the election campaign. Cabel indicated he would file an appeal with the Central Elections Committee, in the name of his party, against the appointment.

“Netanyahu is in hysteria over the ongoing loss of seats by Likud-Beytenu and is unsheathing his perpetual band-aid, Moshe Kahlon,” said Cabel, adding that the nomination was “a mockery to the intelligence of Israeli residents who understand that the Prime Minister did nothing for four years in order to lower the crazy housing prices, and now is trying to make a moral fraud to conceal it.”

Tzipi Livni, who heads the Hatnua party, also slammed Kahlon’s appointment, saying it was “the supertanker which is intended to put out the fires of the polls that Netanyahu sees every day.”

Livni added, “We, unlike Netanyahu, are not looking for and will not seek a fig leaf we can depend on every day.”

Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid party also slammed the appointment, saying that the Likud and Netanyahu “again prefer gimmicks over orderly plans to solve the serious problems of the Israeli middle class."

Referring to Kahlon's previously-announced plans to take a break from public life, Lapid continued, "Instead of displaying an orderly plan to solve the housing problem, as Yesh Atid has, Netanyahu prefers to bring Kahlon back to an executive position and thus expresses utter disbelief in his list [of Knesset candidates]."

He also said, “The Prime Minister, who managed to distance the only social ingredient he had from himself and the Likud, gave in to the pressure of the drop in the polls and is trying to make desperate last-minute moves, before the public goes to the polls.”

Meanwhile, a report on Army Radio on Sunday evening indicated that Kahlon’s appointment may not even be legal, since the law stipulates that the head of the ILA is the person serving as Housing Minister.

In order to change this law, noted the report, new legislation would be required to be passed.