Outgoing Communications and Welfare Minister Moshe Kahlon on Monday reportedly said he was forced to accept Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s appointment as director-general of the Israel Land Administration.
Kahlon, who announced in October his intention to resign from political life after the elections, said he had little choice but to accept the position at the ILA because of pressure from the prime minister, Channel 10 reported.
The director-general of the ILA, which manages the 93% of Israeli land that is state-owned or run, is appointed by the government.
According to the prime minister, Kahlon’s appointment — announced two days before the Israeli elections on Tuesday — is designed to bring in someone capable of lowering housing prices, especially for young couples and discharged IDF soldiers. Kahlon, as Communications Minister, saw through major reforms in the cellular phone market, introducing new players to the industry and dramatically bringing down costs. But according to his associates, even he knows that his chances of repeating the success in Israel’s booming housing market are slim.
Netanyahu’s Sunday’s announcement was strongly criticized by political rivals, who claimed it was a stunt to draw in voters in the face of a slide in the polls.
On Sunday night, Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, head of the Central Election Committee, ordered Israeli media not to broadcast the press conference at which the appointment was announced, ruling that it could be regarded as election propaganda, which is banned outside officially designated time slots in the final days of the election campaign.