Israeli ministers Galant and Kahlon spar over settlement plan

Kahlon's associates said the plan to build in central West Bank cities like Ariel and Modi'in Illit had no economic benefits and would not solve the housing shortage in the center of the country.

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June 8, 2017 17:02
1 minute read.
Ariel

General view of Ariel. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
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Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon pleaded unsuccessfully with his No. 2 in Kulanu, Construction Minister Yoav Gallant, to not publish his plan for building tens of thousands of housing units in central West Bank settlements, sources close to Kahlon said Thursday.

Kahlon’s associates said the plan to build in central West Bank cities like Ariel and Modi’in Illit had no economic benefits and would not solve the housing shortage in the center of the country. They said the only benefit of the plan was that it would aid Gallant’s efforts to join the Likud ahead of the next election.

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Following constant arguments with Kahlon, Gallant was told he was not wanted back in Kulanu ahead of the next election. Kahlon’s associates complained that Gallant had already started campaigning in Likud and meeting with Likud branch heads and other top central committee members.

In the meetings with the Likud activists, Gallant said he was considering joining the party and seeking the Defense portfolio in the next government. A former IDF major-general and head of the Southern Command, Gallant could replace former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon as the top security figure in Likud.

Gallant has become close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who brought him into the security cabinet and could reserve a slot for him on the next Likud list.

Likud central committee members said it could be tough for Gallant to get elected without a reserved slot, because “we are sick and tired of leftist former generals pretending they’re right-wing and using the party to advance themselves,” citing Ya’alon and former defense minister Yitzhak Mordechai among others.

Under Kahlon’s orders, Kulanu has already started campaigning for the next election. The party rented billboards across the country bragging that Kahlon’s plan is aimed at helping young families.

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