The latest recruit to Moshe Kahlon’s new party, Kulanu, is Israel Prize laureate Eli Alaluf, the party announced Thursday.
Alaluf is the second high-profile recruit made by Kahlon, a former Likud communications minister who formed his new party ahead of the coming election. On Wednesday, ex-Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren announced that he was joining the party.
Alaluf, 69, is known primarily due to his work as CEO of the Rashi Fund, a private body devoted to advancing underprivileged populations in Israel, with an emphasis on children and youths. The fund focuses on outlying communities, its efforts divided between educational and social endeavors.
Alaluf was also head of the government-appointed Alaluf Committee to Fight Poverty whose findings were not implemented in the 2015 budget.
During a press conference in Beersheba Thursday morning, Alaluf said, “When I met Moshe Kahlon it was love at first sight.” He called the former minister “perfectly fluent in the subject matter,” and thanked him “for allowing us to open a joint campaign – I am proud and pleased to be your soldier and I am first and foremost a soldier of our society.”
Kahlon said Israel “has reached the dubious distinction of being third-poorest among developed countries. I have no doubt that with the right leadership, possessing of basic sensitivity to the underprivileged classes and the needs of the middle class, we would have been in a different place – a much more respectable place.”
The Kulanu leader admitted recruiting Alaluf was no easy feat: “I came to his house and asked, ‘Eli, your experience, knowledge and rare capabilities must not be wasted. People of your caliber should not stay at home.”
Kahlon declared that many children, young people and parents from the lower and middle classes owed Alaluf a debt of gratitude. “I have no doubt that you joining will lead us to the social and educational vision of minimizing gaps,” Kahlon added.