Kahlon: Herzog 'almost' joined gov't

Recently publicized investigation into campaign finances of opposition leader prevented unity government, claims Moshe Kahlon.

David Rosenberg,

Netanyahu, Kahlon, and Herzog in 2015
Netanyahu, Kahlon, and Herzog in 2015
Nati Shohat/Flash90

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was on the verge of bringing in Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) into the coalition, claims Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, but the deal was thwarted by reports of an investigation into Herzog’s campaign finances.

Netanyahu’s current government, with its slim majority of 61 seats out of 120 total, has left the Prime Minister with little room to maneuver, allowing even minor coalition partners to hold the government hostage.

But while the Prime Minister has done little to hide his past efforts to expand the coalition and perhaps form a unity government with the Zionist Union party, those efforts may have been far closer to fruition than was generally known.

Kahlon spoke on Wednesday to the Israel Bar Association, and mentioned what he claims was a done deal.

“When the investigation was made public they were about to join the government,” said Kahlon.

Kahlon, who has supported Herzog’s entry into the coalition, blames the sudden announcement of the investigation against Herzog for the sudden end to negotiations.

“It turned out that Herzog and Netanyahu were holding talks on joining the government and the investigation just distanced it.”

Senior officials in both Likud and the Zionist Union dismissed Kahlon’s claims, however, asserting that while negotiations were being conducted, the two sides were far from reaching an agreement.