Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following statement:
"First, on behalf of all Israelis, I would like to express support for the residents of areas adjacent to the Gaza Strip. I promise that we will continue to take strong action against terrorism.
In a few months, we will finish the fourth year in office of the most stable government in recent decades. This stability has helped us to achieve the two main goals that we promised the citizens of Israel.
First, we strengthened security, and this during a period in which a difficult and dangerous upheaval has raged around us in the Middle East.
And second, we strengthened the economy during another upheaval, a continuing global economic crisis that has led to the collapse of key economies in Europe and to mass unemployment there.
In order to deal with these challenges, we have invested very great resources in strengthening the IDF, such as in Iron Dome and in building the security fence along the Egyptian border. We have also conducted a responsible economic policy. Other countries have economic policies that have led to mass unemployment whereas we have created a record number of 330,000 jobs. In other countries, they have enacted giant cuts whereas we have increased investments in education, health, infrastructures, transportation, etc.
Now, there is only one way to maintain these achievements. In the face of the regional upheaval and the global economic crisis, we must continue to uphold responsible economic and security policies because many challenges still lay before us: To ensure that Iran will not have a nuclear bomb, to defend our borders against terrorism and infiltration, to maintain the peace agreements with our neighbors, to uphold our vital national interests in any future peace negotiations and to ensure a dynamic and growing economy that will preserve jobs for Israeli citizens.
All of this requires a responsible budget with long-range vision.
Today, I finished a round of consultations with the heads of the coalition parties and I came to the conclusion that it is not possible at this time to pass a responsible budget. We are on the threshold of an election year, and to my regret, in an election year it is difficult for parties to place the national interest ahead of the party interest. The result of this is liable to be a budgetary breach and a massive increase in the deficit, which would very quickly put us in the situation of the crumbling economies of Europe. I will not allow this to happen here.
At this time, in light of the two great upheavals around us, the security and the economic, my obligation as Prime Minister is to put the national interest above everything and therefore, I have decided that the good of the State of Israel requires going to elections now, as soon as possible.
The State of Israel would prefer a short election campaign of three months over what, in effect, would be a long election campaign that would continue for an entire year and would severely damage the Israeli economy. And therefore, after four years, we will go to elections.
I thank the citizens of Israel for the great privilege that has been given to me to serve you as Prime Minister and I seek a renewed mandate from the people to continue to lead the State of Israel."