On Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu filed a libel suit against Ben Caspit, a prominent Maariv journalist and author of a recent biography on the prime minister. Netanyahu then posted on Facebook that “Caspit will pay dearly” for what he wrote and called on him to care for his own family instead of being “obsessed” with the Netanyahus.As proof, Netanyahu posted an article from 17 years ago about some trouble Caspit’s brother had with the legal authorities. The connection to what Caspit wrote or did? Absolutely nothing.Besides for being disturbing – the prime minister is attacking a journalist’s family – this story provides a small taste of what we can expect now that elections have been called. Sadly, it does not look good.Netanyahu’s attacks on the media are not new. They are something he has fostered since his first term as prime minister in order to help him retain the image of an embattled leader who is simply trying to keep the country going. The Left is out to get him, and the media is out to stop him. But he, as the narrative goes, beats the odds.At the Knesset on Monday, many of the party leaders were on edge. While everyone has known for months that elections were coming, it was only a possibility but not a sure thing. From Monday the clock has started ticking toward April 9 and not everyone is ready. In the coming days, parties will begin hiring campaign managers and strategic advisers – and they will decide on their platforms, how they will attack Netanyahu and from what direction: left or right.Netanyahu seems to have come to these elections prepared. His decision to call the elections now and not wait a little longer is part of an understanding that he is better off getting reelected before a decision is made on an indictment against him. This understanding is likely because he expects that the indictment will include a charge of bribery, which if it does, will be a fatal blow to his political career. Fraud or breach of trust he could probably survive, but not bribery: That is the cardinal sin in politics.This way, his thinking goes, he will get releected (hopefully by a wide margin) and then Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit will have to seriously consider whether he should indict a newly elected prime minister. Even if Mandelblit indicts him, Netanyahu will hope that his coalition sticks together. For that reason, we are likely to see a very similar government to the one currently in power – Likud, Bayit Yehudi, haredim (ultra-Orthodox) and Kulanu.What will the campaigns look like? They will probably be negative – possibly the most negative in Israeli history. Already now, Netanyahu has shown that he has no qualms ripping into the police, the media, the prosecution and of course his political opponents. It will only get worse once the election draws closer.Netanyahu will pull out some of the same cards he used in 2015. He will portray himself and the Likud as underdogs, constantly under attack from so-called “leftist elites” like the media and the police. It doesn’t matter that it's not true: it serves the objective – convincing the public to vote for him.His opponents will need to follow suit. They will also need to attack and be no different in their demolition of the very institutions this country relies on to continue thriving. Naftali Bennett and Avigdor Liberman will attack Netanyahu from the Right while Avi Gabbay and Yair Lapid play up his corruption from the Left.Basically, it will be mudslinging across the board.It doesn’t have to be this way though; negativity does not have to be the tone of these elections. Israel can take pride in its achievements and Netanyahu can try to convince the public that he deserves to be reelected on merit, not fear.Political leaders should offer their citizens a vision of hope and present platforms that radiate positivity. Instead of saying what cannot happen or what they oppose, politicians should tell their citizens what can happen and what they propose; what they actually stand for.Let’s call on our political parties to make this election one of hope and optimism. Now is the time.