Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated Monday that he wants general elections to be scheduled for early September, more than a year ahead of schedule.
"We are proposing September 4, and God willing the voters will give us a mandate," he said in a cabinet meeting.
The government on Monday was set to begin discussing bills submitted by Likud, Labor and Meretz to dissolve the Knesset, Israel Radio reported.
In an address to the Likud convention in Tel Aviv on Sunday, Netanyahu said that an early election would ensure political stability, justifying his decision to move up elections.
“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.”
Calls for general elections come amid recent proposals to replace the Tal Law which allows haredi (ultra-Orthodox) men to indefinitely defer IDF service and was recently invalidated by the High Court of Justice. Dissolution of the Knesset would automatically extend the Tal Law, which was set to expire on August 1, for six to eight months.Netanyahu also called for the Tal Law 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.
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. Kadima Chairwoman Dalia Itzik on Monday reiterated to call to replace the Tal Law prior to dissolution of the Knesset.
Lahav Harkov and Reuters contributed to this article