The Central Election Committee cut radio and television broadcasts of Likud
Beytenu and Labor press conferences on Monday, forbidding media from playing
quotes or clips of politicians’ speeches.
The committee’s ruling meant
that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s appointment of departing Communications
Minister Moshe Kahlon as Israel Lands Authority chairman and opposition
reactions to it were largely ignored by the non-written press.
to Central Election Committee chairman Judge Elyakim Rubinstein, any speech by a
politician, or interview with a politician is considered campaigning, and was
forbidden on Monday and Tuesday.
Kahlon, who was allowed to be
interviewed because he is not running in the election, told Army Radio that
Rubinstein’s directive went too far in his opinion, nevertheless adding, “it’s
his prerogative; he’s a Supreme Court justice.”
Meanwhile, in a move to
capture votes of Israelis worried about domestic issues and the economy,
Netanyahu dedicated his last press conference on Monday to lowering the price of
housing, and was joined by Kahlon on stage.
“We will [complete the reform
of the ILA] with the help of the prime minister the same way we made a reform
for the communications market, we will do it with real estate as well,” said
Kahlon. “The previous government started with this, and the bigger the
government, the more things they can do. Today, there is no reform because there
are problems in the coalition. They know what to do and how to do it, but need
the political power in order to make these reforms possible.”
minister, best known for his fight to increase competition in the cellphone
market in order to lower prices, added that he will work with the Bank of Israel
and the Finance Ministry and will lower housing prices
“Kahlon is the right person in the right place,” Netanyahu
Also Monday, in another press conference that could not be
broadcast following a Likud Beytenu complaint to the Central Election Committee,
Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich blasted Kahlon’s appointment.
doesn’t want the public to know the truth. The truth disturbed the prime
minister in this election campaign,” she stated.
Kahlon’s appointment “pathetic and improper,” because, according to the Labor
leader, housing prices went up 48 percent under the Netanyahu government, and
Israelis must save 103 months of their salary on average in order to buy a
“This is the truth Netanyahu does not want you to
These are bitter, difficult reminders of the reason we are going to
an election, and Netanyahu does not want the public to know, because they may
remember facts,” she said.
The Labor leader added that, according to law,
the housing and construction minister appoints the ILA chairman, and that the
attorney-general had instructed the government not to make political
appointments during election time.
“What does Netanyahu think?”
“That people will believe in a fictitious appointment,
after prices went up 48%? It will only happen after [Kahlon] comes back from six
months in Harvard. People should vote for Netanyahu because of that? This is an
insult to the public’s intelligence, and shows [Netanyahu] is
Tzipi Livni also called Kahlon’s appointment “a hysterical
move by Netanyahu meant to stop a dive in polls.”
Speaking to voters at
the Azrieli Mall in Tel Aviv, she said: “It’s not Kahlon, it’s Bibi [Netanyahu].
We need to replace the prime minister, not the head of the ILA. No fig leaf will
cover up the failed housing policies of the last four years.”
criticized the appointment as propaganda, and called for a prime minister with
“true intentions and an ability to act.”
Slamming Netanyahu on the Kahlon
appointment, Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid said on Monday that “if the issue
of residential living is so important, then why is he appointing someone now who
will only enter the office in six months?” “They finally realized [its an
important issue]?” he asked rhetorically.
Lapid said that he had fought
for a better living situation for “the middle class” for “months upon
Parodying Netanyahu’s announcement he said that now “two days
before the elections, the prime minister says he found a path to act on a
dramatic and emergent basis” by appointing someone who “gave notice that he is
traveling to the US to learn for four months?” “This [are] not exactly the
emergency actions of someone who thinks that the issue is critical,” he
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.