Netanyahu and Kahlon 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu faced criticism on Tuesday for announcing that
he would not keep his promise to appoint popular former communications minister
Moshe Kahlon as chairman of the Israel Lands Authority.
the promise two days before the national elections, in a press conference that
was not shown on television because the head of the Central Elections Committee,
Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, ruled that it would be illegal
But Netanyahu told Kahlon on Tuesday that political
realities made the appointment impossible.
“The results of the election
do not allow us to implement all the plans we had,” Netanyahu told the former
minister. “But to this day I believe that the only way to significantly lower
housing prices for all Israeli citizens is to move the Lands Authority to the
Prime Minister’s Office and appoint Kahlon to chair it.”
Housing Minister Uri Ariel and the head of his Bayit Yehudi party, Naftali
Bennett, vetoed moving the authority from Ariel’s office when the government was
formed in March. But Netanyahu waited until Kahlon returned from his studies at
Boston’s Harvard University to tell him that he would not receive the
Kahlon said in an interview three weeks ago that he expected to
receive the post but had not yet decided whether to accept payment for it. On
Tuesday, he said he did not want the job if he would have to be subordinate to
Ariel rather than report directly to the prime minister.
chairman Isaac Herzog, a former construction and housing minister, called
Netanyahu’s broken promise to Kahlon “a dramatic failure.” He accused the prime
minister of tricking the public in an effort to save his campaign.
Movement for Quality Government sent Netanyahu an angry letter, accusing him of
breaking a promise to his voters and creating an improper atmosphere in which
the wider public could be harmed. The watchdog group said the prime minister
should have demanded from his coalition partners that Kahlon receive the
“There is no doubt that this incident contributed to the nation’s
lack of confidence in its elected officials and their promises,” said the
movement’s spokeswoman, Ruth Margolin, “and this is very unfortunate.”
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