Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s mother, Misa Kahlon, died in May 2018 at the ripe old age of 95. Thousands of people came to console the grieving family during the shiva — the Jewish traditional mourning period of seven days — which took place in a crowded, old apartment in the Givat Olga neighborhood, long home to immigrant families. What made the event unusual was the profile of the people coming to console the family. They included the top leadership of Israel’s political and financial establishments, along with fishermen with their gnarled, rough hands, who grew up in the same neighborhood as Kahlon. They all crowded into the same two-room apartment where Kahlon’s parents, both Libyan immigrants, raised their seven children. As Kahlon explained, every evening the kitchen was transformed into another bedroom.
The childhood memories of Kahlon instantly touched people. It was impossible to remain apathetic after hearing a story like that. It offered such a clear picture of the very essence of Kahlon as finance minister and made the vast difference between his unpromising origins and the heights he achieved in his career so tangible and real.