The next general election in Israel is officially almost two years away, but the domestic political scene has suddenly erupted into a frenzy of activity, with politicians on all points of the political spectrum preparing for a likely call for early elections.
The swirl of speculation that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might decide to call early elections started in December, when Netanyahu surprised members of Likud, the party he leads, with a call for a snap primary vote, leading the opposition Kadima party to move up its primary schedule as well.
Netanyahu's decision to rush an internal leadership vote was the product of two considerations. The first was that the timing, which left his Likud rivals scrambling, seemed likely to result in a victory that would secure him a stronger mandate within the party. The second factor has to do with the electoral calendar in the U.S. By launching the electoral process now, Netanyahu positioned himself to win a new term as prime minister before a new presidential term begins in the U.S.