What needed to happen has now happened, and what still needs to happen, will happen as soon as possible. The very stones were calling out [reference to Habakkuk 2:11] for early elections and these elections will ensure huge savings and the reduction of public squabbles that characterize time periods like this. The fewer of these, the better.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends for the elections to be held on Jan. 15. Political commentator Ayala Hasson said on Channel 1 on Tuesday that the goal is to shape the Israeli political map before the next American president is sworn into office on Jan. 20.
Political declarations have already started being exchanged. Netanyahu vowed to broaden his government's achievements of the past four years. He talked about Iran and also spoke about Israel's economy in contrast to the collapsing economies of other Western economies, mainly in Europe. Labor's Shelly Yachimovich attacked tycoons and the cost of living in the country. Kadima will likely split into several factions, tails of smoldering embers trying to rehabilitate themselves. Yair Lapid will succeed or fail depending on the extent of the erosion of Kadima, which was the largest party in the outgoing Knesset. But wait, in another day or two, a truce will be declared and a cold/hot war will begin between Israel's political parties.
The first battle will be over the election of criminals. Ehud Olmert claims that he was not found guilty of moral turpitude. Maybe not, but this was because he agreed to give up the benefits he was entitled to as a former prime minister. He also will have to deal with the Holyland trial as well as the prosecution's appeal in the Talansky case. There is not much of a chance that Olmert will in fact be able to run in the coming elections. The head of the Knesset Elections Committee will not be able to approve Olmert's participation; neither will the High Court, unless Israel has turned into a South American country. Olmert will certainly not be allowed to serve as a government minister. If Olmert runs, the 2013 election will be the first with a criminal who acts almost as if he is proud of his actions.
In the next day, however, competition between Israel's political parties will temporarily dissipate as attention turns to internal party primaries. Kadima's Shaul Mofaz will try to change his party's primary system, which could result in him having to go before the High Court of Justice. In Likud and Labor there will be massive clashes, as an abundance of extraordinary candidates fight for a limited number of spots. Politicians will speak out against internal party rivals, as well as other parties, with an eye on the primary elections and not the national elections. This will be the main fight over the next few weeks. The parties will only turn against each other after the primaries.
How will the political map look after the internal party battles? The 2009 elections were conducted under the slogan "Bibi or Tzipi?" In 2013, Yachimovich will try to take Tzipi Livni's place in that question. These elections will be particularly unusual. The parties will compete against each other, but everyone assumes there is only one candidate for prime minister. It is going to be interesting.