Finance Minister and Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon promised Wednesday that he would not dismantle the coalition following heated arguments between party leaders and ministers surrounding the state budget, which is scheduled to be put before the government for approval Thursday.
“The finance minister is not the treasurer. I have a clear policy and economic policy and therefore I succeeded in promoting the matters I believe in. I will not dismantle the coalition,” Kahlon said during a “Globes” business conference at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem.
Asked about his political relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Kahlon responded by saying the two were now on good terms, referencing prior statements in which he announced that disagreements between the two had led to frosty relations.
By contrast, he said that his political relationship with Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay, a former partner in Kulanu, remained icy.
“I didn’t support the French bill,” Kahlon saidregarding a scrapped, controversial piece of legislation that that would have prohibited police investigations against a sitting prime minister.
“Just like I passed legislation that part of the coalition doesn’t like, they also supported this. As long as I am a member of the coalition, I am obligated by coalition agreements (which are—ed) things that I can live with.”
During the interview, activists from disabled movements, who have staged numerous protests against what they say are meager and insufficient funds for people suffering from disabilities, and activists bemoaning limited funds for the periphery, interrupted Kahlon, silencing him for several minutes.
The protesters called for an increase in public housing budgets and for making disabilities payments equal to the minimum wage in the country as they chanted: “Capital, rule, underworld.”
The angry members of the audience also waved signs condemning Kahlon that read: “Kahlon you are anti-society because there is no budget for public housing.”
Unmoved by his critics, Kahlon responded by saying that “I see it as a compliment that people demonstrate and come to shout and they are allowed to express their protest.”