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PM dangles housing in front of voters
By MELANIE LIDMAN
01/21/2013
Day ahead of elections PM urges voters to strengthen Likud-Beytenu in last press conference prior to election.
 
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday dangled the prospect of cheaper housing in front of voters in one of his last press conferences before Tuesday’s election.

“We are putting a goal in front of us, and we will get it. When you vote in favor of a large ruling party, you vote against [unequal power] to smaller parties,” Netanyahu said on Monday afternoon in Jerusalem with a view of the Old City behind him. “A strong coalition gives us the power to lower the price of apartments.”

The prime minister expressed confidence that many people would change their minds at the last minute to vote for Likud-Beytenu. “Decide what you’re voting for – a weak and scattered Israel or a strong and united Israel,” Netanyahu said.

In a move to capture votes of Israelis worried about internal issues and the economy, Netanyahu dedicated his last press conference to lowering the price of housing. Former Likud MK Moshe Kahlon, whom Netanyahu announced as the new director of the Israel Lands Authority on Sunday night, also joined Netanyahu on the podium.

“We will [complete the reform of the ILA] with the help of 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.”

Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich called on the State Comptroller and the Elections Committee to cancel Kahlon's appointment as it was undertaken within 48 hours of the elections. Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid accused Netanyahu of using Kahlon as his “eternal bandaid” and concentrating on “gimmicks instead of solutions to serious problems.”

Kahlon, a popular MK best known for his fight to increase competition in the cell phone market in order to lower prices, did take part in a number of campaign commercials for Likud even though he was not running.

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat also joined Netanyahu and thanked the prime minister for his support of Jerusalem, which he said was “without precedent.” “I know that in the next term you will continue to guard Jerusalem as a united city and you will continue to invest and develop Jerusalem,” Barkat said.
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