Early General Election in Israel

On Monday it was announced that Israel’s governing coalition had decided to call an early election for 9th April 2019. Under normal circumstances the present government could have continued until November 2019.

However, with their majority in the Knesset reduced to one following Avigdor Lieberman’s resignation in November and a failure to resolve differences concerning a draft conscription bill for ultra-Orthodox Jews, they have decided to seek a stronger mandate from the electorate.

The Israeli government buildingIsrael’s Knesset building  (photo by Beny Shlevich)

Some analysts suggest that a series of investigations concerning possible corruption on the part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have prompted this decision – so as to see whether ordinary Israelis would like him to continue in power. Should he win the election he would be on course to become Israel’s longest serving leader.

Netanyahu denies the allegations against him and has accused his political opponents of trying to gain advantage through them.

Interestingly, the calling of the election would seem likely to cause a delay in any further announcement regarding the investigations. Senior legal officials have predicted that the Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, will not publish a decision during the election campaign.

On Friday it emerged that the Attorney General has been given additional security cover after the Israeli Police and the Justice Ministry considered it necessary on the basis of intelligence information. It seems that some people in Israel are angry with Avichai Mandelblit because he has not yet pressed charges against Benjamin Netanyahu.