(JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Oct. 9 called for elections in the Jewish state “as soon as possible,” citing security challenges such as Iran and border terrorism as well as the fact that it would not be feasible for Israel to pass a “responsible” government budget during an election year.
“At this time, in light of the two great upheavals around us, the security and the economic, my obligation as prime minister is to put the national interest above everything and therefore, I have decided that the good of the State of Israel requires going to elections now, as soon as possible,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
The last Israeli election came on Feb. 10, 2009. The earliest the next election could take place is Jan. 15, three months after Israel’s Knesset is back in session Oct. 15.
Netanyahu said elections were in order sooner than later because upon finishing “a round of consultations with the heads of the coalition parties,” he concluded that any budget worked on during an election year “would be liable to be a budgetary breach and a massive increase in the deficit, which would very quickly put us in the situation of the crumbling economies of Europe.”
“The State of Israel would prefer a short election campaign of three months over what, in effect, would be a long election campaign that would continue for an entire year and would severely damage the Israeli economy,” he said. “And therefore, after four years, we will go to elections.”
Netanyahu said “responsible economic and security policies” are needed due to the following challenges Israel faces: “To ensure that Iran will not have a nuclear bomb, to defend our borders against terrorism and infiltration, to maintain the peace agreements with our neighbors, to uphold our vital national interests in any future peace negotiations and to ensure a dynamic and growing economy that will preserve jobs for Israeli citizens.”