(JNS.org) Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon, whose new centrist party won 10 Knesset seats in Tuesday’s Israeli election and is widely considered a deciding factor in the formation of the country’s next government, said Kulanu “will sit in a government that will allow us to fulfill our promises.”
“It was a historic election campaign that dealt with day-to-day problems,” said Kahlon. “They tried diverting us left or right, Iran and Washington, and Gaza and Sinai, but we said our lives are no less important. Our children’s chance to have an apartment is no less important, the chance to allow our parents to live with dignity and not on welfare is no less important. This was the first campaign since 1977 in which social issues were discussed, and this is because of us (Kulanu). Where others have given up, we vowed to fight and to win.”
He added, “We embarked on a demanding journey and saw it through honorably. We have a responsibility, and we will take care of those who for many years have been abandoned—the middle class and the weaker sectors.”
To create a government in Israel, the party leader appointed by the president must build a coalition of at least 61 of the 120 Knesset seats. Likud won the most 30 Knesset seats in Tuesday’s election—30—and the party’s likely coalition partners include eight for Jewish Home (eight seats), Shas (seven), United Torah Judaism (six), and Yisrael Beiteinu (six). With Kulanu in the fold, a Likud-led coalition would have 67 Knesset seats.
Kahlon is a former Likud member, and served as both Minister of Communications and Minister of Welfare and Social Services under Netanyahu from 2009-13.
“I have no doubt Kahlon is a true Likudnik and he will join our coalition,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud), Israel Hayom reported. “The prime minister will keep his word and Kahlon will be finance minister.”