PM: Short election season is better for Israel

Netanyahu says early vote ensures stability, prevents “extortion and populism” by coalition partners.

Netanyahu Likud 390 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Netanyahu Likud 390
(photo credit: REUTERS)
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 government.
“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.”
The 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 without these.”
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.”
Yacimovich added that her social-democratic ideology will defeat Netanyahu’s “extremist capitalism.”
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 removed.”
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 country.”
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.