The cabinet has approved the appointment of Kulanu chairman Moshe Kahlon as economy minister, in addition to his position as finance minister.
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The labor relations desk has been transferred from Kahlon’s new ministry to the Social Affairs Ministry headed by Haim Katz (Likud). In the future, Kahlon will vacate his position as economy minister in favor of Eli Cohen, a member of his party.
When the government was formed, Shas chairman Arye Dery was appointed economy minister, but he resigned in November due to his reservations about the natural gas framework, and moved to the Interior Ministry. Since then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has replaced him in the Economy Ministry. After Kahlon’s appointment, Netanyahu holds the foreign affairs, communications and regional cooperation portfolios in addition to being prime minister.
The cabinet also approved the appointment of Zeev Elkin (Likud) as environmental protection minister. This position was originally filled by Avi Gabbay of Kulanu, who resigned in May when Moshe Ya’alon was replaced as defense minister by Avigdor Lieberman, and since then he has been replaced by Kahlon.
Elkin served as absorption minister until Yisrael Beitenu joined the coalition, when he was replaced by Sofa Landver. Elkin will continue to serve as the Jerusalem affairs and heritage minister, although Netanyahu had at first planned to transfer these areas to the responsibility of Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud), who is a minister without portfolio. The deputy in the Environmental Protection Ministry will be Yaron Mazuz (Likud), former deputy interior minister and presently a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.