Kahlon: Don't Listen to the Reporters

Kulanu chairman denies reports he gave up his demand to head Knesset's Finance Committee in favor of United Torah Judaism.

Elad Benari ,

Moshe Kahlon
Moshe Kahlon
Ben Kelmer/Flash 90

Kulanu chairman Moshe Kahlon reiterated on Sunday night that his party intends to stick to its principles when holding coalition negotiations.

Kulanu, which has centered its platform on social issues, is expected to demand that it hold the Finance Ministry, have control over the Israel Land Administration which Kahlon has promised to disband, and head the Knesset’s Finance Committee.

The last demand is expected to place Kulanu at odds with the haredi United Torah Judaism, which wants the Finance Committee as well and whose leaders stressed earlier Sunday that they would not agree to give up the chairmanship of the committee.

“I hear about these and other concessions even before the coalition negotiations have begun. Israel wants and must change,” Kahlon wrote on Sunday night, addressing speculations that he was willing to give up the Finance Committee to United Torah Judaism.

“It is our duty to ensure that this change will be made in practice and not just by making empty statements. I suggest you listen only to what I say in my voice and not to what reporters say, based on baseless briefings from people with interests from other parties,” he added.

The comments by United Torah Judaism’s MK-elects were made on Sunday as they met with President Reuven Rivlin to inform him that they recommended Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to form the next government.

Besides UTJ, MKs from Shas, Jewish Home and Likud have also given their nod to Netanyahu, and so far 51 MKs have expressed their approval of him as the next Prime Minister.

Kahlon is expected to meet the president on Monday and is expected to recommend Netanyahu as well, but that does not necessarily mean he will automatically join his coalition, as he pointed out on Friday.

“Kulanu is a party with a platform. The results of the elections are clear, but our platform was and will remain the essence,” he wrote on Facebook on Friday.

“We intend to hold coalition negotiations based exactly on what we promised the public. We did not come to talk or grab a chair. We came to make a change, we came to solve problems, we came to repair society,” continued Kahlon.

“None of us were born in the government. None of us have to be there,” he concluded.

Kulanu won ten seats in the elections and has been widely speculated to be an integral part of the Likud-led government, which Netanyahu has said would include his “natural partners”.

In fact, Netanyahu promised Kahlon the finance portfolio two days before the elections, saying Kahlon will be Finance Minister regardless of the number of seats Kulanu receives.

Kahlon, for his part, rejected Netanyahu's promise, noting on "Netanyahu already promised me control of the Israel Land Administration and the Finance Ministry in the past, but he did not keep his word."