Israel's early election reflects the public's disillusionment with the way the government handles security, said Aluf Benn, editor-in-chief of Haaretz.
"Netanyahu was the Israeli leader under whose watch there was the smallest number of funerals of soldiers or victims of terror. And this was a winning card for Netanyahu, and rightly so in the eyes of many voters," Benn said in an interview with Aimee Amiga on Wednesday. "Once this was shattered and Israel lost 73 soldiers and civilians in the [Gaza] war and the level of terrorist attacks grew since then in Jerusalem and elsewhere, this image of safety and security, which was Netanyahu's unique selling point, was no longer there."
Benn said the peace process, which "doesn't exist," cannot play any role in the upcoming election. However, the Palestinians' bid to be recognized by the United Nations as an independent state "will play a major role in the election campaign," according to Benn.
He said Netanyahu might have timed the early election to coincide with that UN bid "to position himself as the nationalist who takes care of Israel's security while his opponents are helping the enemy by not resisting the UN bid in full force like he would."
He also said he expected Netanyahu to face a much tougher fight this time around, considering that in the last election no one else even declared themselves as a candidate for prime minister. This time, however, he is liable to face a few challengers for the March 17 poll.