Welfare and Social Services Minister Meir Cohen (L) and Eli Alalouf.
(photo credit: AVI HAYOUN)
Eli Alalouf, who is spearheading the War on Poverty committee, officially became the third candidate on Moshe Kahlon’s Koolanu party list on Thursday.
“Poverty in Israel has steadily increased, putting Israel thirdto- last in terms of poverty among developed countries. I have no doubt that correct leadership, with [at least a] minimal sensitivity to the weak classes and the needs of the middle class, will bring us to a much more respectable position,” Kahlon said at a Beersheba press conference.
“Alalouf’s work on the committee, and decades heading the Rashi fund for disadvantaged populations would help provide that leadership,” he added.
For his part, Alalouf said he decided to join the party because of his respect for Kahlon, who he worked with when Kahlon was welfare minister.
“It was love at first sight,” said Alalouf.
Society, he said, was based on the idea that every citizen is equal. “It is our responsibility to chase justice,” he said. In particular, the high cost of housing, whether to buy an apartment or pay steep rent, was a serious challenge.
In June, the Alalouf-headed poverty committee recommended spending up to NIS 6.3 billion to cut poverty in half. It said that negative income tax should increase to encourage work, as should allotments for the elderly and public housing spending.
On Wednesday, Labor leader Isaac Herzog called for many similar reforms when he laid out his party’s economic platform at the Calcalist financial newspaper’s conference in Tel Aviv. Herzog called for cutting poverty in half in a decade and increasing public housing.
Former Finance Minister MK Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) had only included a fraction of the Alalouf report’s extensive recommendations into the 2015 budget proposal, but that plan fell off the agenda when Lapid was fired and new elections called.
On Wednesday, Kahlon, a former Likud minister who is focusing his new party on economic reforms, added former ambassador to the US Michael Oren to his list.