Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for early Knesset elections, and urged for a short four month election campaign, in order to restore the government's stability. In a speech at the Likud convention in Tel Aviv, Prime minister Netanyahu blamed the coalition partners for forcing him to announce elections ahead of next year's Knesset elections.
"For dozens of years the government was not very stable," Netanyahu said."With the start of the fourth year of this government,Coalition stability has begun to crumble, opening the door to blackmail and populism," he said. "I will not lend a hand to an elections campaign of a year and a half that would destabilize the government. I prefer short elections of four months that could quickly bring back the stability to the political system."
"We will form a broad government and continue to powerfully lead the state of Israel – in order to ensure the future of the Israeli nation in the state of Israel forever," he said
In first election speech, Netanyahu touted his government's economic and security achievements, including investment of billions of shekels in higher education and in instituting free education from age 3. Netanyahu said housing prices are going down due to large scale construction and taxation of working parents with small children has been cut.
Netanyahu made the case for his reelection - calling for a strong and powerful Likud party, government stability and experienced leadership to lead Israel in the coming years.
On the security front, Netanyahu took credit for calm situation. "We have systematically struck those who planned to strike us," Netanyahu said. "We took the initiative and we responded resolutely to every attack on us. We proved that we take care of security with force and with good judgment."
"We did not forget," he added, to loud applause. "We brought home our abducted soldier Gilad Shalit."
Hinting at Labor head Shelly Yechimovich, his strongest challenger at present, Netanyahu said: "The state of Israel cannot afford a prime minister without experience in diplomacy, security and economics."
Regarding Iran, Netanyahu said: "Until three years ago, Iran went forward with its nuclear program almost unmolested, and today, largely because of our activity, the world is taking action against the Iranian nuclear program. Of course, Iran is trying to fool the world but we will not reduce the pressure until the threat is truly removed."