Kahlon: I Won’t Join a Coalition that Bans Chareidim

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kahIn an interview with the chareidi media, Moshe Kahlon told Kol Berama’s Moshe Glasner that his Kulanu party will not join any coalition that boycotts the chareidi tzibur. He was referring to an alignment against the chareidim by Yesh Atid and Yisrael Beitenu.

KB:

What is your position regarding religion and state? In other words, where is Moshe Kahlon between Yair Lapid and the chareidim?

Kahlon:

I am a traditional person, very traditional and religion is very close to me. Can I tell you I am chareidi, the response to that is no. You can see this from experience. You will not find me in a place that seeks to harm religion, not because I am chareidi, but because I am a Jew and I believe we must preserve the Jewish character of the country.

KB:

There can be no question that the matter of criminal sanctions against chareidim will come up in the new coalition.

Kahlon:

I will not support criminal sanctions.

KB:

The sanctions have already been approved. I am talking about revoking them. The chareidim will request eliminating them. Can you live with this?

Kahlon:

It is still too early. Let us sit and see what the coalition makeup will be. It is easy to make declarations but another thing to fulfill them. It is simply too early without a single mandate guaranteed. My colleagues enjoy making deals, breaking them and then making news ones and break them, even before the coalition is formed.

KB:

You are also appealing to the Shas voters, the traditionalists and weaker sectors.

Kahlon:

We are appealing to those who wish to improve their lives regarding housing, employment, workers’ salaries, and narrowing the social gap. This is why Kulanu was established. At present, it does not matter that the salaries are 4,500, 10,000, or even 15,000. It is difficult for this entire sector to live her because of the many injustices.

KB:

Does this mean you are only interested in the lower weaker sectors?

Kahlon:

No that is not what I mean to say. I am talking the general public up to the middle class. I believe the wealthy can also benefit from reforms once I dismantle the Israel Lands Administration and lower housing prices.

Housing is a major cause of the poverty and if one does not have an apartment, one will not have education and will not have culture. There will not be an opportunity to expand and develop for his head will always be occupied housing and that he lacks a home for his children.

Regarding the fact that I do not have anyone on the list who wears a yarmulke, our party has its line, the line of being traditional and protecting Jewish values. That fact that no one wears a yarmulke is coincidental. I did not specifically look for one wearing a yarmulke for the symbolism or to protect our nation as a Jewish nation. Our hashkafa and principles and the education we represent will do this too.

If there was a person who wears a yarmulke who was appropriate he would be there. However, other than the symbolism, I do not see this being a problem.

In principle, I do not see a connection between the things you are trying to connect. One does not have to be poor to address poverty and one does not have to wear a yarmulke to work to maintain the Jewish character of the nation. I know people who wear a yarmulke who voted against me while I was a cabinet minister and I voted to preserve the Jewish character of the state. I feel the true kippa is in the heart.

Regarding the inclusion of [Jerusalem Councilwoman] Rachel Azaria to the list, she has done a great deal for Am Yisrael, for Yerushalayim, for working mothers, daycare, and education. She has her own agenda in the city. It is not the agenda of all of us. She will lead to reforms that will be for the betterment of families…I think for the 10 or 11 years I served as an MK and cabinet minister I was always a good ally for them (chareidim).

KB:

Also an ally of Yesh Atid?

Kahlon:

Yes, and not because I am trying to find favor in someone. I believe in this even when I did not run and when they didn’t ask me for their votes. Check this with chareidi leaders too.

KB:

You said you are in touch with the heads of all parties. Does this hold true with the chareidim too? With Deri, Litzman, and Gafne?

Kahlon:

Yes, I am in touch with them all. Why the need to mention each one?

KB:

I mention this because Members of Knesset say in closed discussions, Netanyahu is warning them about you. He says that you will link with Yesh Atid and Lieberman against the chareidim. Is there something to this?

Kahlon:

I hope that we will have sufficient mandates B’ezras Hashem. There will be no disqualifying anyone. This is a non-starter. No one is disqualified. In my life I would not sit in a government that disqualified chareidim. No such thing. And once again, because this is what I believe in not because I am trying to find favor in the eyes of one or another.

I do not know how much the chareidim will support Kulanu but it makes no difference. I would never do this and they will always be friends and partners. I have the utmost respect for the chareidi leaders, both the politicians and rabbonim. This is me, here – there is nothing new here, it’s me.

KB:

So you are saying the chareidim can relax. You are not entering a Lapid Lieberman coalition against the chareidim?

Kahlon:

I will never be against the chareidim.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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