(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the opening of the winter session of the 18th Knesset on Monday,
officially asking to advance elections to January 22, 2013 and making the case
that he was the only person who could lead the country going forward. Netanyahu spoke before the MKs were scheduled to vote to dissolve the Knesset ahead of early elections.
compared the situation when he took over as prime minister in 2009 to
the situation the country finds itself in today. He described himself as
a leader that had "brought security back to Israel's citizens," saying
that when he took over in 2009, "thousands of missiles were being fired
on the South."
He added that two years earlier, missiles were
being fired from Lebanon on the North, saying that the previous
government displayed "negligence" toward Israel's security.
prime minister attacked his rivals, saying that "anyone who
underestimates the threat that a nuclear Iran poses to Israel is not
worthy to be prime minister even one day."
Netanyahu also touted
his success in stopping the flow of migrants from Africa from entering
Israel through Egypt. He stated that in 2009 thousands of "infiltrators
entered Israel," whereas only 23 had entered this month due to the
construction of the security fence on the Egypt border.
minister also touted his navigation of the world financial crisis as prime
minister, saying that he managed to raise growth and decrease
Netanyahu also cited the return of Gilad Schalit from Hamas captivity as one of his government's successes.
an apparent dig at former prime minister Ehud Olmert, Netanyahu said
that he had not brought the country into "unnecessary wars."