Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday night the eve of 24 Nissan met with Kulanu party leader Moshe Kahlon for three hours in an effort to reach agreement towards signing a coalition agreement with the party. According to the Yisrael Hayom newspaper, the stalemate surrounds Kahlon’s demands to receive control of the Finance Ministry as well as the Interior Ministry Planning & Building Committee along with the Israel Lands Administration. Kahlon explains that he promised voters to implement sweeping change if he assumes a cabinet post and these changes he explains demands that his party control the agencies mentioned. Kahlon insists that as finance minister, without control over the other related state agencies, he will lack the control to eliminate the nationwide housing shortage and other problems that he promises to tackle.
It is indicated the prime minister will announce his decision regarding cabinet appointments by week’s end. Mr. Netanyahu is also expected to meet with the chareidi party representatives later in the week in the hope of closing a deal with them. This however may be complicated as a result of the lack of progress with Kahlon, whose party earned 10 seats in elections.
The dati leumi Srugim website reports that Mr. Netanyahu will be meeting with party leaders personally towards week’s end, aware he must become personally involved to advance the coalition-building process.
Regarding Yahadut Hatorah, demands include control of the Knesset Finance committee, to be given to Moshe Gafne, and Yaakov Litzman will become deputy minister of health with ministerial authority. Shas is demanding the Interior and Religious Services ministries, with the Bayit Yehudi party insisting it continue to control the latter.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)