Analysis

Israel: Iran Attack Could be Behind Early Elections
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairing a weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office, May 7, 2012. (GALI TIBBON/AFP/GettyImages)
May 7, 2012
| Security
| Middle East and North Africa
Summary
Although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stated reason for calling early elections is to bring more stability to the government, the move may be an attempt to cash in on his high approval ratings to counter growing opposition from former senior Israeli officials and the United States to a possible plan to launch an airstrike against Iran this fall.

Netanyahu yesterday called for Knesset elections on September 4, 2012 rather than the scheduled date of October 2013 to win a “renewed mandate” and to form a government that can bring about stability.  The early elections will also forestall an Israeli High Court decision and efforts by the Kadima Party to invalidate the Tal Law which exempts ultra-orthodox Jews from military service.  Netanyahu’s Likud Party is divided over the law and dissolving the Knesset will both postpone the deadline for re-writing it and strengthen Netanyahu’s appeal to religious parties.

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