Netanyahu Expected to Announce Date of Israeli Elections Next Week

Likud officials believe that when the PM arrives at Likud party meeting next Sunday, after sitting shivah for his late father, he may propose that elections be held in September.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to arrive at the Likud party meeting next Sunday and announce the date of the next Israeli elections.
Next Sunday, Netanyahu will finish sitting shivah for his late father who died on Monday, and is expected to come to the Likud meeting and announce when the elections will take place.

September 4 is one of the dates agreed upon by many officials - Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon said during a conference held by TheMarker on Tuesday that the elections will take place in the beginning of September.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu has asked Kahlon to work to expand the participation of those on the Likud Knesset list. Netanyahu is likely worried that most of the current Knesset members, who were selected in the last term, will find themselves outside the next Knesset. Likud officials expressed concern that Netanyahu intends to bring new faces to the party, who may later be granted ministerial roles.

Should the elections take place in September, the Likud primaries would be expected to take place in June.

Anticipating the coming elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is already meeting strategic advisers and survey experts, a political source said.

"Netanyahu's associates are pressing him to push up the elections," the source said.

"Whichever way you look at it, the government will not make it to the end of the year," a Likud source said.

Another Likud source said "Netanyahu doesn't want to be the one to push up the elections. He also doesn't want to hold them after failing to extend the budget."

One possible cause for holding early elections is the controversial Tal Law, which exempts ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students from mandatory military service. The law, which the High Court of Justice declared unconstitutional in February, is to expire in August, compelling the government to deal with the explosive issue.

Opposition leader MK Shaul Mofaz called on Saturday for pushing elections up to October, while Labor and Meretz intend to submit proposals to disperse the Knesset, which opens its summer session this week.

On Saturday, Labor leader MK Shelly Yacimovich denied coordinating her move to disperse the Knesset with Netanyahu. Political sources said Yacimovich would not risk submitting the proposal without an agreement with Netanyahu, because if the Knesset rejects the proposal, she would have to wait six months until she could submit it again.

Yacimovich called on all the opposition parties to join her motion to push up elections. "This is not the time for groundless slander and petty politics. We all face the challenge of uniting forces and toppling Netanyahu's government," she said on Saturday.