Minister Moshe Kahlon (Likud) will not be running in the upcoming
elections, he announced Sunday evening.
Kahlon, who was
seen as a contender for one of the top spots in the Likud list, did not
state a reason for his intended break from politics. He said that he
would continue to support the Likud and would help the new government in
its transition to power.
Kahlon met with Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu shortly after Yom Kippur and informed him of his intention to
take time off from politics. The prime minister asked Kahlon to delay
his announcement until preparations for the Likud convention and the
party's primaries are complete.
Kahlon, also the welfare and social services minister, is considered one of Likud's most popular ministers. He received the highest score of all Likud ministers in a Smith Research poll asking 500 people to rank the performance of the party's ministers on a scale of one to ten.
As the cabinet on Sunday voted to hold the elections on January 22, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid offered former IDF deputy chief of staff Moshe Kaplinsky the second spot on his party's list for the Knesset, Channel 2 report on Sunday night.
Lapid's spokewoman would not confirm or deny any questions about the Yesh Atid list, which will be released in the next few days.
Other figures rumored to be in talks to join Yesh Atid are Tzohar co-founder Rabbi Shai Piron, Itzik Shmuly, chairman of the National Union of Israeli Students and leader of last summer's social protests, Dr. Aliza Lavie, a communications lecturer at Bar-Ilan University and author of the religious-feminist book A Jewish Woman's Prayer Book, Herzliya Mayor Yael Gehrman, former Health Ministry director-general Eitan Hai-Am and others.
Kaplinsky was deputy chief of staff from 2005-2007 and OC Central Command 2002-2005. He has been CEO of Better Place Israel since 2008.
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.
Jerusalem Post Annual Conference. Buy it now, Special offer. Come meet Israel's top leaders