Kahlon: I don't have a problem with Bennett as Defense Minister

Finance Minister denies rejecting the idea of Naftali Bennett being appointed defense minister.

Hezki Baruch,

Moshe Kahlon
Moshe Kahlon
Hillel Maeir/TPS

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon clarified on Saturday evening that he has no problem with Naftali Bennett being appointed defense minister.

"I did not place an ultimatum on Bennett's appointment as defense minister. These spins don’t work on me. I have not been a member of the Likud for a long time and I do not work for them," he said in a television interview.

"I will not abandon the economy for another two months in office," he continued, adding, "The government did not give in to Hamas. I sat in cabinet discussions that lasted deep into the night, we made very difficult decisions, and approved very bold actions. The IDF is doing daring work."

His comments came as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu continues his efforts to avoid early elections.

On Friday, Netanyahu told Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett that he will not appoint him as defense minister due to objections by Kahlon.

Netanyahu tweeted on Saturday night that he would be meeting with Kahlon on Sunday and added that the Kulanu faction leader held the key to the coalition's stability.

"If Kulanu do not topple the government - there is a government. A right-wing government must not be overthrown. All members of the Likud faction are interested in continuing to serve the country for another full year until the end of its term in November 2019," wrote Netanyahu.

Bennett, for his part, called for new elections during a Saturday night interview.

“[Netanyahu] is trying to hold the government together, but I agree - we have no government. Liberman took down the government when he left," he said.

Bennett added that "the right thing for the State of Israel right now is to go to elections, to form a government headed by Netanyahu, but this time it will be a right-wing government through a strong Jewish Home.”