Israeli Elections May Follow US

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Despite its size, Israeli politics are often every bit as tumultuous as they are in other countries.

If political pundits are correct, Israelis may go to the polls as early as a month after the next U.S. president is sworn into office.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told coalition members Tuesday if he cannot garner majority support for the national budget, he will move up elections scheduled for October 2013.

"If a majority cannot be secured for the proposed budget, I will announce at the opening session of the Knesset [October 15] that the elections will take place earlier than scheduled," Netanyahu said.

"For four years we have been managing the economy responsibly," Netanyahu told coalition members. "We have reduced unemployment to one of the lowest rates in the Western world."

"We maintained high growth and added new jobs," he continued. "We dealt with the global economic crisis. The security of the citizens of Israel grew despite the regional turmoil. For four years we have acted as a responsible government and we should continue doing so."

Many Israelis would agree with him. The Jewish state has weathered the global economic meltdown relatively well since Netanyahu took office in 2009, though not without opposition to steadily increasing food, housing, utilities and fuel prices, affecting a broad segment of the population. 

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said he understands what it will take to weather global instability.

"I have a budget that will preserve our economic stability," Steinitz said on Monday. "I believe that after Sukkot [the Feast of Tabernacles], we will know if we have a coalition that approves of it."

While Israelis celebrate Sukkot, Netanyahu is meeting with coalition leaders to talk about strategy for dealing with the debt crises in Europe and at center stage in the upcoming U.S. elections.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu's approval rating remains relatively high.

Many remember his success as finance minister under former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Israel had been preparing for record tourism in the new millennium. Instead, September 2000 brought the second intifada (armed Palestinian uprising), which continued through 2004.

With suicide bombers blowing themselves up on busses, in restaurants and other public venues in Jerusalem, Haifa, Tel Aviv and around the country -- tourism bottomed out. The intifada dealt a huge blow to the agriculture and construction sectors, as well.

As finance minister, Netanyahu tackled the shattered economy, convincing the nation to accept austerity measures that indeed put the country back on track.

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CBN News
Tzippe Barrow

Tzippe Barrow

CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem

From her perch high atop the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, Tzippe Barrow helps provide a bird’s eye view of events unfolding in her country.

She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) several years ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.