Elections Now!

Elections Now!

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

It seems that there is an unspoken reason for Netanyahu to call elections now rather than wait until 2013. Admittedly, within a parliamentary system there always is a notion in a parliamentary system, that a Government in power seeking re-election should permit the timing of an election to be dictated when it assumes it can win its largest percentage of seats. The current internal debate within the Government over the re-writing of the Tal law concerning compulsory military or national service is important, but it is not a reason to go to the voters now. The question is especially annoying to the secular or one side and the charedim on the other, but not enough on its own to dissolve the Knesset and push ahead with elections now. 

At this time, however, there appears to be a critical leadership issue both within Israel and with the United States that Netanyahu wants to be addressed by the Israeli voters, before Americans vote in November; the response to Iran. The Prime Minister, when he finishes the shiva for his late father, probably will ask for elections to be held in September before Rosh Hashanah or later in October following Sukkot. By doing so he will let a public vote of confidence immediately quiet the recent emergence of his security and intelligence critics–who have been plentiful of late and have attacked his aggressiveness on the Iran nuclear issue.

Netanyahu will also place the U.S. on notice that they will have to accept his policy and direction over the next several years (and not possibly only until the previously scheduled 2013 elections). Bibi will be able to tell both Romney and—specifically from his perspective Obama—that after November he will collect on the U.S.-Israeli understanding reached in March, with respect to who will take out the Iranian nuclear capacity and/or how.

By November, his political deck –and the American one as well–will have been cleared.  He will have silenced his political and military critics and rallied the nation with a bigger mandate for his Party.  Barring a miracle on the diplomatic front, Bibi will be able to tell the world that it is now Showtime for Iran.

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