Kulanu head Moshe Kahlon and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands after signing the coalition agreement.
(photo credit: PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE)
Sources close to Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon denied a report on Sunday that there could be a political deal that could guarantee that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government will last for three more years.
An agreement discussed by Netanyahu and Kahlon would result in Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay being promoted to the Economy portfolio, according to a report in TheMarker.
In return, Kahlon, who is chairman of the Kulanu party to which Gabbay also belongs, would support a two-year state budget for 2017- 2018 and drop his opposition to the appointment of two Likud ministers to vacancies in the cabinet, rather than one.
Netanyahu has been waiting to fill the vacancies in his cabinet until after the High Court of Justice rules on his appointment of Shas chairman Arye Deri as minister of interior; Deri was convicted of bribery the last time he held the post.
The court is expected to reject the petition against Deri’s appointment.
Once that happens, the prime minister’s attempts to make such a deal are expected to get into high gear.
Sources close to Netanyahu said passing a two-year budget was important to him, due to the need for economic and political stability.
A Netanyahu associate said Kahlon was obligated to accept a two-year budget by the coalition agreement.
Responding to claims by Kahlon that Netanyahu had violated the agreement in several cases, a source close to the prime minister said the two-year budget was a very serious commitment Kahlon made.
Kahlon’s associates said Netanyahu was pressuring him to accept the deal but that it would not happen.
They would not confirm that Gabbay’s promotion was offered in a serious manner.
Coalition chairman Tzachi Hanegbi, who himself is awaiting a promotion, said he was unaware that such a deal was offered.