Regardless of who wins the upcoming early elections, the next government will be forced to approve a cruel budget cut at its first celebratory meeting, or during its second meeting at the latest.
The numbers are known, as are the economic constraints. There is no room for any flexibility on this issue. Even if Shelly Yachimovich is appointed finance minister, a significant budget cut will still have to be made. Perhaps a higher tax will be imposed on the rich or maybe the government will introduce an emergency tax on restricted earnings (earnings that cannot be paid out as dividends but have to be invested in Israel), but when the process is over everyone's pocket will have a hole in it.
If the elections were to be held on schedule, the economic measures would take effect on March 31 instead of December 31. The child stipends that will not be cut on Tu B'Shvat, mainly due to opposition from Shas' ministers, will be cut towards Pesach, with our without Shas' consent.
So why call early elections? For no reason at all. The past few months have not seen any significant change that warrants an early vote. There is no new peace plan that demands an urgent referendum, and there have not been any major developments with regards to other internal issues either. What was is what is. The only significant development during Netanyahu's tenure is the 'danger' that the government will actually complete a full term for the first time in decades.
The very thought that this time we will go to the polls on schedule unnerved certain bored elements that simply cannot do without early elections. They are in love with the bickering between the parties and the artificial disputes. They don't care how much money it is going to cost, or if it is really needed; as long as the Knesset dissolves prematurely.
Over the summer Netanyahu prevented the Knesset's dissolution at the last moment. But now it appears that he can't. Like the rest of the party leaders, he will march with his head held high towards unnecessary elections.