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Israel Political Parties: Kulanu

Popular Likud member Moshe Kahlon announced the formation of a new party prior to the 2015 election with the goal of attracting honest, non-corrupt, professional candidates, which he contrasted with the “unclean” nature of Israel's politics today.  One week after the announcement he revealed the party name to be Kulanu (Hebrewכולנו, lit. All of Us).

The party platform focuses on economic and cost-of-living issues, looking to improve the economic well-being of Israeli families. Moshe Kahlon is known for his support of issues affecting the middle class, and the party platform centers around lowering the cost of living for Israel's middle income families. The party supports the idea of a two-state solution. 

Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the US, joined the Kulanu party list on December 24, 2014. In early January 2015 Rachel Azaria, Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, was added to the Kulanu list. 

Polls conducted in January 2015 projected that the Kulanu Party could possibly win anywhere from 8-12 seats in the Knesset during the 2015 election. Kulanu ended up coming in fifth place in the election with 10 seats in the Knesset, behind Likud, the Zionist Union, Wamab, and Yesh Atid.

Kulanu was the only centrist party to join Netanyahu’s government. In coalition negotiations, it won control of the Finance Ministry, the Construction and Housing Ministry, and the Environmental Protection Ministry; the directorships of the Israel Land Authority and the Planning Authority; and the chairmanship of the Knesset's Labor, Welfare and Health Committee. Kahlon also effectively blocked the advancement of two legislative proposals aimed at weakening the status of the Supreme Court.

Prior to the April 2019 election, both Oren and Azaaria resigned from the party. Netanyahu tried to convince Kahlon to run on a joint list with the Likud, which would have guaranteed that Kulanu cleared the electoral threshold to win seats in the Knesset while also helping the Likud to maintain its lead in the polls. Kahlon, however, turned down the offer and won only four seats.

After Netanyahu failed to form a coalition and a second election was called for September 2019, Kulanu decided to run with Likud on a joint election list while remaining an independent party. According to the agreement, Kahlon will receive the fifth slot on the Likud list, Eli Cohen the 15th, Yifat Shasha-Biton the 29th and Roy Folkman will be number 35. 


Sources: Aron Heller, “Ex-Netanyahu ally looks to be Israeli kingmaker,”  AP, (December 3, 2014);
Adiv Sterman, “Popular ex-Likud minister launches new party” Times of Israel, (December 3, 2014);
“Knesset votes to disolve, new elections set for March 17,”  Times of Israel, (December 8, 2014);
Justin Jalil, “Ex-envoy to the US Michael Oren joins new Kulanu Party,” Times of Israel, (December 24, 2014);
“Kulanu,” Wikipedia;
David Rosenberg, “Kulanu refuses joint run with Likud, presents Knesset list,” Arutz Sheva, (February 21, 2019);
Gil Hoffman, “Likud’s Governing Secretariat Approves Likud-Kulanu Deal For Joint Ticket,” Jerusalem Post, (May 28, 2019).