The Israeli government’s decision to disband the current Knesset in order to allow for elections to take place on January 22, 2013, is unlikely to affect Benjamin Netanyahu’s standing as prime minister. Polls indicate that Netanyahu’s Likud Party will be the largest party in the coming elections, possibly winning a greater number of seats in the Knesset than they currently possess.
The opinion here on the street here in Israel is that the January election is ultimately a referendum on whether Israel should attack Iran’s nuclear facilities or wait for the world to act – the latter is a possibility unlikely to occur. With elections out of the way, a Bibi-led government would have the general public’s consensus to tackle the Iranian threat, and if necessary, it would have the appropriate political capital to make the call to attack, with or without U.S. backing.
The Israeli public is well aware of the dangers posed by Iran. We have learned – after two decades of futile peace talks – that there is no partner for peace to be found within the Palestinian Authority, and we view the Arab revolutions sweeping the Middle East with great caution and concern.
For these reasons, Netanyahu has emerged as the politician most trusted to lead the country through the coming storms. He is viewed as the leader with the most resolve to strike Iran, the leader who will withstand pressure to offer dangerous and unilateral concessions to the Palestinians, and the leader who understands the perils brought upon by the “Arab Spring” to Israel’s security.