The day before the polls open, the appointment of outgoing Minister of Communications Moshe Kahlon as chairman of the Israel Land Administration Council, has set off a political storm. Yesterday evening, after realizing the Likud's downward trend in the polls was gaining strength, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Kahlon's appointment to the job in an effort to halt the slide. The Likud hopes that Kahlon's return to the arena in some way and the emphasis on his ties with the Likud could help on election day.
However, the petition to the High Court of Justice against Kahlon's appointment, which was due to come into effect, if at all, only in a few months, means that the appointment is in doubt. At the same time that the Labor Party petitioned the High Court of Justice, Labor Party chairwoman MK Shelly Yachimovich convened a press conference in which she slammed Netanyahu's decision. At the Likud's request, the Central Elections Committee forbade broadcasting the press conference, on the grounds that it was election propaganda.
Yachimovich said that Kahlon's appointment was "hasty, pathetic, illegal, irregular." She said that although Netanyahu and Kahlon were trying to equate the appointment with the promise to lower housing prices, the opposite was now the case. "During Netanyahu's term, housing prices rose 48%. Whereas in OECD countries, it takes an average of 96 monthly salaries to buy a four-room apartment, in Israel, you need 130 salaries. The difference between the housing prices index and the average monthly salary widened by 40% during Netanyahu's term," she said, adding that these were the reasons why Netanyahu appointed Kahlon.
"The prime minister cannot be allowed to continue to serve," continued Yachimovich. She added that Kahlon's appointment broke two laws: the Israel Land Administration Law and the attorney general's guidelines for senior appointments during an election campaign.
"How long is it possible to deceive and spin?" asked Yachimovich. "Netanyahu is worried and justifiably so. With every hour that passes, he weakens in the polls, so he pulled a transparent and desperate trick. There's a limit to the deceit and the creation of an imaginary reality in which all the tough figures, such as the rise in housing prices, never happened. Netanyahu does not want the public to know the truth. The truth greatly worries the prime minister in this election campaign."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 21, 2013
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