Moshe Kahlon is set to retire from political life after announcing he will not run in the March 2 election, sources close to the finance minister said Sunday.
Kahlon apparently has already requested from Likud Central Committee not make him part of its list of candidates ahead of the national ballot and will officially announce his retirement from politics sometime on Monday.
Since the last election on April 2019, Kahlon has kept a low profile after his Kulanu party mustered to win only four Knesset seats. Kulanu officials have decided to merge with the ruling party, becoming a faction within Likud. As a result, Kahlon retained his post as finance minister, a move which drew much criticism from his party's supporters.
Sources said the finance minister discussed the issue with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who attempted to persuade him to rethink his decision. Kahloh, however, said he feels extremely fatigued after heading the Finance Ministry for the past five years.
The 59-year-old minister apparently also said he wants to spend more time with his family.
It appears Kahlon will remain in his post as finance minister until a new government is formed, unless Netanyahu decides to fire him and appoint a new candidate.
In the election campaign leading up to the September 17 vote last year, Kahlon was presented by Likud as its one of the party's more socially aware politicians, citing various social reforms he initiated as a minister.
Kahlon's departure will most likely require Likud to find another candidate with a socially-oriented platform that would fill the vacated place on the party list.
Kahlon, a former Likud MK and minister from 2003 until 2013, returned to the political scene in 2015 with his party, focusing on cost-of-living issues and winning 10 seats in the general election that year. He joined Netanyahu's coalition and was appointed finance minister shortly after.
During his tenure as finance minister, Israel's economic growth was generally maintained.
Kahlon directed much of his attention to the issue of house prices, initiating economic programs which sought to spur construction and lower rental cost for young couples and low-income citizens.
Alongside his housing and financial reforms, most of the criticism pointed at Kahlon was centered on the fact that the state budget deficit exceeded the ministry's estimates.