Likud Officials: Kahlon Could Choose Herzog

Moshe Kahlon says he will join any government in which he is finance minister, but Likud officials fear this may mean a Herzog government.

Moshe Cohen ,

Moshe Kahlon
Moshe Kahlon
Flash 90

Officially, Moshe Kahlon says he is prepared to join any government that gives him what he wants – essentially, to be appointed finance minister.

As a former member of the Likud, many in the political establishment believe that Kahlon is more likely to recommend Binyamin Netanyahu to form the next government, if there is no clear winner in next week's election.

But Likud officials say they have indications that Kahlon will do the opposite, and offer his Kulanu party as a coalition member in a government to be formed by Yitzhak Herzog.

With polls showing that Likud and Labor are running almost neck and neck – with neither party projected to get more than 25 seats, barely a fifth of the full Knesset – the decision as to whether Herzog or Netanyahu be appointed to form a government is likely to fall to President Reuven Rivlin, who will only make his decision after polling all parties in the next Knesset.

A report in Ha'aretz Thursday quoted Likud officials as saying that they had been told Kahlon was considering joining a Herzog-led government if the alternative is a right-wing government led by Netanyahu – if, of course, he is given the finance portfolio.

The report added that Yoav Galant, number two on the Kulanu list, had told a prominent Israeli blogger that he believes “the first deal we make will be with Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman,” with whom Kulanu has a vote-swapping agreement, while “the second deal we make will be with Herzog.”

On Sunday, Kahlon told supporters that he is interested in only one “deal, a deal with the Israeli public. Don't believe the lies that some are pushing, as they are designed to influence your vote."

"None of the party leaders in this election are willing to answer the difficult questions. No one has an answer as to why there is no competition between banks, no one can tell us why there is no competition in the food industry. They are stealing millions of shekels from the pockets of Israelis and no one says anything. All we hear about all day is Iran, ISIS, and Congressional speeches,” Kahlon continued.

While those things are important, said Kahlon, there are even more important issues for Israelis right now. “The next government will not be left or right, it will be a social government, emphasizing the social issues. Israelis deserve a Finance Minister who will work for them, not the vested interests.”