The Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs has approved on Monday a legislation that calls for early Knesset elections to be held on September 4. The legislation has been submitted for the Knesset's consideration.
"I would have been very glad if we could have completed the term," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
said during Monday's government meeting, but noted that having a short election season "is the right thing to do."
Netanyahu lauded the ministers for the government's "excellent achievements."
Netanyahu on Monday (Photo: Emil Salsman, Ha'aretz)
"The government has made great achievements due to our collaborative work, our vision and the political stability, which has been imperative to our success," he said. "I don't think that we've had such a stable government for decades.
"It's no secret that over the past year there has been a certain lack of stability, which always leads to extortion. These factors undermine the primary elements of defense, economy and society."
He said that if he is elected again, he will establish a government as large and stable as possible, which would enable the leaders to "deal with the great challenges that we will face."
Shas ministers abstained from the televote, but later blamed the move on "a misunderstanding."
"Shas' unambiguous stance is to support the early elections and the legislation," a Shas official said. "(Shas ministers) abstained due to confusion. We support the bill."
Early in the government meeting Netanyahu addressed the recent murder cases that involve teens: "We know that there has been a reduction of 30% in the incidence of murder, but these cases are brutal and underline our acknowledged need to battle these occurrences full force."
Thirty-seven murders occurred so far this year, compared to 52 over the same period in 2011.
The prime minister noted that he has asked Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino to compile a report on the "shocking incidents that have taken the lives of Israeli citizens." He expressed confidence that the trend could be curbed.
Also during the meeting, Netanyahu congratulated Francois Hollande
for being elected president in France.
"The ties between Israel
and France have always been friendly, and I expect them to continue as such," he said.
Yair Altman contributed to the report