Finance Minister: 'Delusional' to think I'll disband coalition

Finance Minister Kahlon says he won't disband coalition, insists PM Netanyahu step down if Attorney General decides to indict him.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Moshe Kahlon
Moshe Kahlon
Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) on Saturday evening said he will not bring about new elections or leave the coalition in the near future.

"I did not just pass the state budget in order to dismantle the coalition," Kahlon told Channel 2's "Meet the Israeli Press" program. "Anyone who is counting on me to bring down the government is deluding himself."

Expressing satisfaction, Kahlon said the budget "shows that we have a stable economy, and that we can make long-term plans. This is a budget which includes an additional 16 billion shekels for education, health, security, growth, and the National Insurance Institute."

"Since the beginning of our term, we have significantly reduced taxes, despite the fact that we were told to raise taxes... I want to end the first quarter of 2018, to see that the predictions are true, and then we'll look at everything. We have been working to lower taxes from my first day as Finance Minister, and we're going to examine these things."

Regarding a recent poll which showed that if the Kulanu and Yesh Atid parties joined, they would seriously harm the Likud party's chances of success, Kahlon said, "We are friends, but read my lips, Kulanu will run alone."

Regarding the various investigations Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is involved in, Kahlon said Israel needs to wait for Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit's decision - and not for the police recommendation.

"If the Attorney General decides to submit an indictment, I have no doubt that Netanyahu should resign," Kahlon said. "Let the recommendations come in, we won't avoid making a decision."

Netanyahu is currently being investigated for receiving cigars and champagne from wealthy supporters, including Israeli businessman and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian tycoon James Packer. However, Netanyahu does not smoke.

In a second case, police suspect Netanyahu sought more favorable coverage with the publisher of the popular Yediot Aharonot newspaper. The alleged scheme, not believed to have been finalized, would have seen Netanyahu receive favorable coverage in return for helping curb Yediot's competitor, the more popular Israel Hayom.

Speaking about the recordings of Netanyahu's son Yair making embarrassing comments both about women and his father's policy, Kahlon said, "The language and discourse disturb me. If Yair Netanyahu's apology was true, from his heart, and he understood his mistake - that is certainly an important message for the public."