Herzog: There Will be Elections Within a Year

Opposition leader predicts that elections will be held within a year and declares: I am worthy of being Israel's prime minister.

Ben Ariel ,

Opposition leader MK Yitzhak Herzog
Opposition leader MK Yitzhak Herzog
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Opposition leader MK Yitzhak Herzog, head of the Labor party, predicted on Saturday that elections will be held within a year, and also said that he believes he is capable of being Israel’s next prime minister.

"Realistically, the current Knesset can topple the government, but I do not know if an alternative government is possible," said Herzog, who spoke in Be’er Sheva, and added, "All options are possible - an election and a change in the coalition.”

Herzog continued by saying that "there is now an atmosphere of change of government", adding that "the public will return to the old parties, because rootless parties will be erased.”

The opposition leader then went on to say that he believes he is a worthy candidate for prime minister.

"I bring a wealth of experience as minister, I come prepared for this candidacy,” he said. "Even though running Israel is complicated, I have a lot of experience and the public would be convinced.”

Herzog’s comments come amid continuing tensions among members of the coalition on a variety of issues. In fact, last month it was speculated that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is preparing for elections in the spring, after he unexpectedly decided  to drop his support for the Conversion Bill, which was introduced by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party.

Further indications of tensions in the coalition surfaced last week, when reports said that one of Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s close associates had hinted to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s associates that Lapid is considering quitting the coalition and forming an alternate government.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) warned on Thursday that she is considering leaving the government, after Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz of her party last Saturday announced he is quitting the coalition.

"Life in this government isn't easy," Livni said. "I ask myself every day if I need to be there and I suppose that one day the moment will come when I say 'enough.'"

The timing of the reports about Lapid and Livni’s comments leads to speculation that Livni may throw her weight behind Lapid in his push to topple Netanyahu during the current Knesset coalition and before elections - in which indications are that the two will be soundly weakened.

In his comments on Saturday, Herzog pointed out another strained relationship in the coalition, that between Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.

“The tension between them is significant, as we saw in the vote on the Israel Hayom Bill,” he said. “All the relevant parties are ready to get together in order to save the country, I do not rule out anyone, from Meretz to Liberman."