Israel sets date for early elections

2012-10-16 10:00

Jerusalem - Israel's parliament voted overnight to dissolve itself and hold early elections on 22 January, officials said on Tuesday.

The dissolution of the Knesset was approved by 100 votes to none in a third reading after a lengthy session in the 120-seat chamber.

Last week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he wanted to bring forward the election - originally scheduled for October 2013 - because of the current deadlock among coalition partners over the passage of a budget packed with austerity measures.

Opinion polls suggest that Likud-leader Netenyahu and his coalition of right-wing and religious parties will win comfortably given the current regional tensions and the world economic crisis.

"I'm asking to hold elections on Tuesday, January 22 2013," Netanyahu told the house at the start of the debate.

"In less than 100 days the people of Israel will decide who will lead them in the face of the greatest security challenges which we have known since the founding of the state; who will lead them in the face of the toughest economic crisis the world has known in the past 80 years," he added.

Military action

Netanyahu has repeatedly said that the gravest strategic threat facing his country is a nuclear-armed Iran. The Islamic republic denies it wants nuclear weapons.

Israel, the Middle East's sole, if undeclared, nuclear power, will not rule out military action to prevent Tehran obtaining such arms.

"Anyone who belittles the threat which a nuclear Iran poses to Israel is not worthy of leading Israel for even one day," Netanyahu told the Knesset.

"Today we have the capabilities to act against Iran and its satellites; capabilities that we did not possess in the past," he said, without elaborating.

Following the decision to call an election, the Knesset is immediately dissolved and an election recess comes into force, marking the official start of campaigning.

A survey published last week by the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper found that Netanyahu and his allies were set to increase their number of seats to 68, while the opposition - comprising centrist, left-wing and Arab parties - would win just 52.


Netanyahu's existing coalition, which includes the centrist Independence party headed by Defence Minister Ehud Barak, currently holds 66 seats.

The Israeli leader said his decision to call a snap election was driven by the deadlock among coalition partners over the passage of a budget packed with austerity measures.

But commentators said Netanyahu had called an early vote to capitalise on his current standing in the polls, which show him holding a commanding lead over any potential rivals for the premiership.

Netanyahu did suffer a political blow over the weekend with the unexpected departure of his very popular communications and social affairs minister Moshe Kahlon.

Kahlon has not explained his reasons for stepping down but media reports said he was upset that Netanyahu failed to promise him the finance portfolio in the event of an election victory.

The next legislature will be the 18th in Israel's history.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-16 10:22

    Israel: Has Our Expiration Date Arrived? The question is not whether Israel will still exist in 10 years, but what kind of Israel will be here in 10 years? By Kobi Niv

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-16 10:56

      You are displaying this exact religious lunacy of the right-wing Zionists in Israel who suffer from imperial hubris. The Palestinian issue is not about religion!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-16 12:32

      Luther is/was entitled to his opinion and not his fact!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-16 14:03

      Adam, I expect a moment of reflective silence on your part to think things through. Moderator, stop binning my posts because you do not like the truth!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-16 14:08

      @Adam The massacre at Deir Yassin caused other Palestinians to flee their homes in fear. Zionist terrorists drove trucks with loudspeakers through the streets and over the roads of Palestine warning Palestinians that what happened at Dear Yassin would happen to them if they didn't leave.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-16 14:10

      These Zionist terrorists weren't bluffing: For Example: • They killed 60 Palestinians at Balad Esh Sheikh. • They blew up 20 homes in Sa'sa, killing 60 women and children. • They killed a number of women who were working in Saint Simon monastery in Jerusalem. •

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-16 14:12

      All of the above Adam happened in 1948 before any Palestinian resistance movement was formed.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-10-16 17:33

      Typically, Fidel's prolific replys to his own comment was outdone by the simple statement of fact by adam.jackson. No chance girlie.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-16 20:03

      The real question is whether Fidel will wake up to the fact that Nelson Mandela is not a phony, lackey of the West or modern-day Uncle Tom. His exact words in the US/Mandela thread a few weeks ago. His views on Israel and the West are based in this obviously faulty belief-system,

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-16 20:05

      Patrick believes the Syrian people, trying to free themselves from decades of brutal unelected minority rule at the hands of the Assad family, are terrorists. His views of Israel are similarly upside down and faulty.

  • thunder.clap.587 - 2012-10-16 10:47

    Have they also set the date to trigger ww3

  • Brownbear - 2012-10-16 11:01

    @ Adam Keeping on wishing ! There will always be Aqsa no mater what.Thats Gods Promise .

      richard.bosmano - 2012-10-16 15:14

      please supply the section of the koran on the aqsa mosque thing "There will always be Aqsa no mater what.Thats Gods Promise ". Not that it matters.When it collapses(and the other squatter building on Temple Mount),3rd temple goes up."Finished and klaar" as some local "poletishen" said.

  • thunder.clap.587 - 2012-10-16 12:44

    They Israelites earned God's anger so they will eventually fall,now its their time so let them play.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-16 20:07

      I recommend looking yourself in the mirror and giving yourself a short, sharp clap to the cheeks, both of them to wake up. You're being left behind by the new generation of the Middle East who have seen through the lies and deceit plied by unelected dictators and Jihadists, for their own benefit.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-16 20:08

      Israel was created in 1948 from 52% of the land formerly occupied by the Jewish and Palestinian people, and Palestine 43%. Most of the Israeli territory was the Negev Desert. Jerusalem fell into neither territory. Palestinians with their unelected, self-serving neighbors declared war on Israel the very next day. In the 1960's they even invaded Israel twice. Full military invasions. The result: Israel survived and pushed them back, gaining territory in the process. This is the origin of what you wrongly call "stealing land". There have been almost daily attacks by Palestinians, incited by their self-serving unelected backers. Palestinians even teach their children at Kindergarten to attack Israel, rather than be peaceful. Children. Kindergarten. From day one, and even today it's wage war on Israel. Israel defends herself. Yes sometimes going too far, which is unacceptable, but self-defense nonetheless. All that needs to happen is for Palestinians to choose peace side by side with Israel. This is more likely going forward now because the unelected dictators are being removed from power by their people, one by one. They will no longer use the Palestinians for their own internal political ploys.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-10-16 19:54

    Fidel, Well with ALL that knowledge and facts of yours, you are doing very lousy, to convince anyone of your believes !!! Just on ONE story; ONE HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE THUMBS DOWN !!!!!!! And a lousy 15, thumbs up, of which 11 are from your lapdog Patrick!!! But , off course you don't care, how many agree and how many disagree with you..... THAT you got in common with gaddafie and assad !!!!!!!!!

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-10-17 19:44

      WOW, Lesego, you are actually monitoring your disapproval rating. Who actually does that? BTW, to be reflective on the level of disdain and dislike for you of the majority of sane readers on this site, your score should be rather stated as 65% to 60% THUMBS DOWN. Nothing to boast about fool.

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