For his ten Knesset seats, Moshe Kahlon is demanding some of the top government portfolios as his price for joining Binyamin Netanyahu's new government. In a statement Wednesday evening after the latest round of coalition talks ended, Kahlon's Kulanu party issued a statement saying that negotiators had discussed giving the party the Finance, Housing, and Environmental ministries, along with the chairmanship of the Knesset Finance Committee, and control of the Israel Lands Administration, and the National Planning Commission.
In the statement, Kulanu said that the party was not interested in the offices for their own sake, but as “tools” to help bring down the cost of housing and other costs. The statement reflected a comment by Kahlon Sunday, who said that Kulanu “was not seeking 'jobs' in the government, but the resources to get the job done,” implying that only his party would succeed in bringing down housing prices.
Although Netanyahu said both before and after the elections that he was planning on setting up a right-wing coalition with the Likud's “natural partners,” such as Jewish Home and the haredi parties, negotiations with all these, as well as with Kulanu party and Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beytenu, has proven more difficult than anticipated. Among the issues is the seemingly irreconcilable demand by both United Torah Judaism and Kulanu for chairmanship of the Knesset Finance Committee. UTJ has “traditionally” held the post in recent governments, while Kahlon claims that without the committee, he will not be able to carry out reforms as Finance Minister. Also interested in the post is Jewish Home, which has current control of the Committee.
Speaking Sunday, Likud MK Limor Livnat said that given the incessant demands of Netanyahu's potential coalition partners, he might be better off with a national unity government. Livnat said that Netanyahu would be better off with a unity government. “It will make things easier for Israel, and allow us to overcome some of the divisions in the nation. Note that when I say a unity government, I mean one without Tzipi Livni. A national government with significant divisions would not be good for the Jews, it would not be good at all.”
Speaking earlier Sunday, Labor MK Eitan Cabel said that despite the rumors, the party was not interested in joining a Netanyahu-led government.