Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


Moshe Kahlon Makes a Splash

Does Netanyahu need to look over his shoulder?

Print Email
Moshe Kahlon(AFP)

Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon, who has already become a popular figure in Israel after successfully fighting against cell phone monopolies that cost Israelis hundreds of shekelim a month, did something curious this week in announcing that he would be taking a break from politics. According to a few sources, Kahlon also commissioned a poll (although he disputes this) that revealed that if he struck out on his own and left Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, a new party chaired by him could garner as many as 20 seats in the upcoming election. If Kahlon were to pair up with Tzipi Livni, that number rose to 26 seats, which is one more seat than Likud currently holds. Kahlon claims he is not leaving Likud; meanwhile, Netanyahu continues to embrace him.

At its made the rounds, news of the merger between the Likud Party and Yisrael Beiteinu has given momentum to the idea that Israel might see a coalition on the center-left rise in opposition to it. Could Kahlon lead the charge? Probably not. But here’s some information on him anyway.

Along with his phone feats, the man from Hadera was also appointed minister of welfare and social services two years ago, and swiftly became the caring face of a government generally seen as rather heartless, spearheading an effort from within to reallocate resources to ease some of the economic hardships of impoverished Israelis. He complained about bank fees. He sought to cut electricity prices, or at least offer subsidized rates for those most in need. This, too, was a major factor in his popularity. “When he spoke to Likud members about his elderly mother in (Hadera’s) Givat Olga neighborhood struggling to pay her electricity and water bills,” noted Haaretz’s political commentator Yossi Verter, “they believed every word of it.”

What seems worth nothing is that Kahlon is the son of Libyan parents and that Sephardi voters have been instrumental in both putting and keeping Likud in power for decades now. With a dearth of credible Sephardi politicians, who knows how his maneuvers might change the political landscape. But is there a precedent, however unlikely, for a politician to leave Likud and take control of the country? As David Horovitz points out, Ariel Sharon did the same thing.

Kahlon mulls defecting, PM dismisses possibility
Moshe Who? Netanyahu’s Nightmare
[Times of Israel]

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Moshe Kahlon Makes a Splash

Does Netanyahu need to look over his shoulder?

More on Tablet:

Why the Teenage Girls of Europe Are Joining ISIS

By Lee Smith — Because they want the same things that teenage boys want: a strong sense of meaning and purpose