An early election will ensure political stability, Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu told the Likud convention in Tel Aviv on Sunday, justifying his
decision to schedule a vote for September.
“The achievements of this
government are a result of a joint vision and a partnership that was possible
due to political stability,” Netanyahu said. “We have not had such a stable
government in decades.”
But in the past few months, the prime minister
said, coalition partners began to undermine an otherwise ideologically stable
“Instability always brings extortion and populism that harms
our security, economy and society,” he said.
The prime minister said a
short, four-month election season is best for the country, rather than waiting a
year-and- a-half for its original scheduled date.
Another way to increase
stability, Netanyahu added, is to have a “large, strong Likud that will ensure
the future of the people of Israel in the Land of Israel forever.”
prime minister did not miss the opportunity to campaign, saying that only he has
the necessary expertise in diplomacy, economics and defense to lead the government.
“This is a necessary combination,” he
said. “The State of Israel cannot allow itself to vote in a prime minister
Labor party leader Shelly Yacimovich took the comment as
a reference to her campaign, and said that the fact that Netanyahu is attacking
her in the middle of the Likud convention “proves that he understands that
Labor, under my leadership, is the biggest threat to him.”
added that her social-democratic ideology will defeat Netanyahu’s “extremist
The prime minister dedicated the rest of his speech to
listing his government’s accomplishments, including the release of captive
soldier Gilad Schalit, establishment of free pre-kindergarten education from age
three and steady economic growth.
He also cited the government’s role in
raising the world’s awareness of the Iranian nuclear threat, adding that “Israel
will not give up on the pressure until the threat is totally
Netanyahu called for the “Tal Law” – which allows yeshiva
students to defer IDF service indefinitely and was due to expire on August 1 –
to be replaced with legislation that “will make the burden [of serving in the
IDF or civilian service] more equal and fair.”
Also on Sunday, Yisrael
Beytenu called for the Knesset’s dissolution – which is expected to be finalized
on Tuesday – to be postponed, so the party’s “Equal National Service for All”
bill can be brought to a vote.
The party opened an online petition in
support of the bill, which would require every citizen to enlist in the IDF or
perform civilian service.
Yisrael Beytenu released a special call for
support from Anglos, saying “many of us raised in the US and other English-
speaking countries hope that the national debate on this issue will be shaped by
the important quote from [former US president] John F. Kennedy: Ask not what
your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your
Kadima joined Yisrael Beytenu’s calls, saying that the
government is missing a “historic opportunity to clean the moral stain that is
the Tal Law.”
Kadima and opposition leader Shaul Mofaz visited Camp
Sucker, the protest group for universal service, at its tent outside the Likud
political convention. According to Mofaz, an early election, which will lead to
the Tal Law being extended for six to eight months, is a “stinky political
trick” by Netanyahu, Yacimovich and the haredi parties.
“Last week, the
government promised the protest leaders that they would replace the Tal Law,”
Mofaz said. “He never meant to keep that promise.”
Camp Sucker activists
held up signs saying “Bibi [Netanyahu], you promised us,” in reference to the
prime minister’s statement that he would replace the Tal Law with legislation
requiring equal service for all.
“If you vote for Shelly, you will get
Bibi,” the Kadima chairman added, calling for a universal service bill to be
passed before the Knesset is dissolved.