Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office denied a report on Monday night that Likud MK Nir Barkat will soon replace Moshe Kahlon as finance minister.
Channel 12 reported that Barkat cut short a visit to the US on behalf of the Zionist Organization of America. He told Jewish leaders there that he needed to hurry back to Jerusalem at the request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
According to the report, Likud polls have shown that appointing Barkat as finance minister would help the party attract soft-right voters from Blue and White. But leading Likud figures oppose the move, saying it would not bring the desired dividend.
Barkat joined Kadima when he was mayor of Jerusalem. A successful hi-tech millionaire, he frequently sparred with Kahlon over funding when he ran the city.
Kahlon is not running for re-election to the Knesset. But he intended to remain finance minister until after a new government would be formed.
The Prime Minister's Office said Kahlon would in fact remain finance minister until after the election and any report stating otherwise was incorrect.
Last week, Kahlon was in the news, because intimate conversations between him and Judge Eti Karif were revealed. Kahlon was a member of the judicial selection committee that appointed Karif.
Associates of Barkat, who was passed up in recent cabinet appointments, said he was willing to serve in any mission the prime minister gives him to help the country and bring about victory for the Likud.