Kahlon's Kulanu Would Join Netanyahu Coalition Until Criminal Hearing, Minister Says

Meanwhile, Labor chairman Avi Gabbay calls on Benny Gantz to declare he won't sit in a government with Netanyahu

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Construction and Housing Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton in Tel Aviv, February 2019
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Construction and Housing Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton in Tel Aviv, February 2019Credit: Tomer Applebaum

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu party would join a coalition headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, despite the attorney general's decision to indict him in three corruption probes pending a hearing, Construction and Housing Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton said on Saturday.

"We won't be joining the celebration and dancing in the prime minister's blood," Shasha-Biton said during a cultural event in Be'er Sheva. "Our position on the matter is clear and has been stated all along – there's nothing to discuss until after the hearing."

Israel's Arab voters can decide it all. Do they want to? LISTEN to Election Overdose

-- : --

Beyond that, Shasha-Biton said she's sure Netanyahu would "make the right choice" following the hearing. This is the first time Kulanu addressed the matter since Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit issued his draft indictment against Netanyahu on Thursday.

>> Read more: Charges against Netanyahu are solid, embarrassing – and lethalNow that he's cornered, Netanyahu is more dangerous than ever

Last month, Kulanu chairman Kahlon said he would recommend Netanyahu form the coalition after the election. "I'm not a judge," said the minister. "Kulanu is only here to serve the public, and in the past week we've more than proven that."

As for joining a coalition led by former Israeli army chief of staff Benny Gantz, Shasha-Biton said: "I don't know who Kahol Lavan are," referring to Gantz's joint slate with Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, "What they're stances are and what they seek to do for the public. When their people are interviewed, one says 'day' and the other says 'night.'"

Kulanu doesn't rule out any Zionist party, said the minister, "but we won't be partners in a technical bloc that includes anti-Zionist parties that oppose the Zionist-Jewish essence of the State of Israel." She said that in the current reality, it seems like Kahol Lavan is incapable of forming a coalition without such a bloc, and that the current tie in the polls between the blocs is misleading.

Also Saturday, Labor Party chairman Avi Gabbay said the upcoming election is "for Netanyahu's life against the life of the state." The prime minister is doing everything within his power to extricate himself from indictment, said Gabbay, adding that Netanyahu intends to pass a bill that would allow him to evade prosecution.

Gabbay called upon Gantz to declare he would not sit in a government with Netanyahu, "because his way is different than our way. This is what he needs to say, and we haven't heard it."

Polls published on Friday by Channel 13 News and Israeli public broadcaster Kan signaled a reversal in the blocs ahead of the election: 61 seats for the center-left, as opposed to the right's 59.

This is the first time since election was announced that poll results showed such a shift.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott