In confirming what his bureau had announced earlier in the day, Netanyahu launched his election campaign by listing the many areas in which his government has improved the lot of the Israeli people.
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He boasted that Israel has become a growing world power, that his government has thwarted Iranian efforts to establish a presence on Israel's northern border and that the economy is more robust than it has ever been. He also said that the kernel of his next coalition would be very similar to the current one.
In this breaking news edition of Haaretz Weekly, editor-in-chief Aluf Benn speculates on the logic behind the prime minister's timing and says that by holding an election seven months earlier than expected Netanyahu has potentially deflected two of the main threats to him winning a fifth term as prime minister: possible criminal charges for corruption, bribery and breach of trust – and an American peace plan which could be impossible for his supporters to swallow.