News

    Israeli PM Calls for Early Parliamentary Elections

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech to his Likud party members in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, May 6, 2012.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech to his Likud party members in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, May 6, 2012.
    Scott Bobb

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called for early parliamentary elections, indicating that he would like them to be held in four months.  Mr. Netanyahu's right-wing coalition has been one of the most stable in recent times. But there were growing divisions, primarily over domestic issues.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the dissolution of his coalition government more than a year before scheduled elections and told cheering members of his Likud party that he would like elections to be held in September.

    Mr. Netanyahu said he did not want a year and a-half of instability and that a short campaign period of four months would ensure political stability.  He added that political instability always brings "extortion" and "populism," which harm security, the economy and society.

    Recent public opinion surveys indicate that the prime minister remains popular and that his center-right Likud party likely would win enough votes to allow him to form the next government.

    Mr. Netanyahu's political coalition, formed three-and-a-half years ago, has split over a controversial law that exempts ultra-Orthodox Jews and Arab Israelis from military or civilian service.  Nationalist-secular parties in the ruling coalition say all Israelis should serve.  Highly religious parties reject this.

    Jerusalem businessman Eli Tal says the government is stable, but indecisive. “Probably the hard decisions they should make, they don't feel enough in-power to make the really serious decisions," he said.

    For many Israelis, the economy is the main issue.  Demonstrations over the high cost of living and lack of social services rocked the Netanyahu government last year.

    Adi Botshvalb says the rent for a small apartment today costs 3,000 shekels or nearly $1,000.

    “The prices here are crazy.  You need to pay around 3,000 shekels for a good place, and apartment.  We pay 2,600 [shekels] and we live in, like, a little basement," he said.

    In addition, the Israeli military wants more funds to face what it says is rising antagonism in the region, following last year's popular uprisings known as the Arab Spring.  There are also fears of a conflict if Israel carries out its threat to attack Iran's suspected nuclear weapons facilities.  Iran denies it is building nuclear weapons.  As a result, the Netanyahu government was facing a major battle over next year's budget.

    Hebrew University political scientist Abraham Diskin says the divisions in Mr. Netanyahu's ruling coalition are typical of Israeli politics.

    “What really matters in Israeli elections is the balance between the two blocks, the right-wing parties and the left-wing parties.  And the balance is very fragile," he said.

    Analysts say that during the election campaign, the Israeli government will be less likely to launch a military strike against Iran, fearing an electoral backlash if the operation fails.  They also say the campaign period will likely further delay the stalled Middle East peace talks as Palestinian leaders wait, hoping for a more flexible negotiating partner.

    The proposed elections must be approved by the Israeli parliament, which is scheduled to meet on Monday.  Leaders across the political spectrum have said they support an early vote.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora