Battered in Polls, Finance Minister Kahlon Reverses Netanyahu Rhetoric

Projected to go down to four or five seats, finance minister says he will recommend Netanyahu to be PM again, boasts he will give him majority

Moshe Kahlon
Emil Salman

Chaim Levinson

Kulanu chairman Moshe Kahlon said on Tuesday he would recommend to the Israeli president that Benjamin Netanyahu form the next government after the Knesset election on April 9, two months after pledging not to sit in a coalition under Netanyahu if he would be indicted.

Since then, he has taken a beating in the polls.

Kahlon told correspondent Amit Segal during a conversation in Jerusalem at a conference hosted by right-wing station Arutz 7 that he would give Netanyahu the majority needed to form the government. “We worked together well. I don’t see any reason we shouldn’t continue to work together,” Kahlon said of Netanyahu. “I don’t see Gantz in the same league at all. Our bloc is a very strong bloc… Netanyahu wouldn’t be prime minister without my recommendation.”

When asked if he wanted to continue as finance minister in the coming government, Kahlon replied: “Very much. Finance minister is a very demanding role.” He said a lot of the work goes unnoticed, but that certain things can only get done from the treasury.

Regarding his relationship with Netanyahu in the previous government, he said there have always been disagreements, but added that he didn’t know “if there has been such cooperation in the past 30 years.”

Media polls during the past two weeks have projected that Kulanu would receive around four or five seats in the next Knesset election. His party did not receive sufficient support to pass the electoral threshold in a poll in Makor Rishon over the weekend. Kahlon vowed at the conference that Kulanu would rise in the polls. Kulanu has 10 seats in the outgoing Knesset.

Two months ago, Kahlon said, “An indicted prime minister, after a hearing, cannot serve in the job.” He also said his party would not give in to conditions set by Netanyahu for entering a coalition.