ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF
ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS
PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting
Source: PMO, 9-9-12
Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting today:
“First of all, a Happy Rosh Hashanah [Jewish New Year] to you all. There is an apple and honey here. Let us offer to our friends from the media to take part in this beautiful custom.
I would like to congratulate Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for taking a daring and moral step and showing leadership on Friday, and thereby sending a principled and important message to the entire world, that the dark regime cannot have nuclear weapons. I call on the entire international community, or at least on its responsible members, to follow in Canada’s determined path and set Iran moral and practical red lines, lines that will stop its race to achieve nuclear weapons.
Today, the Cabinet will discuss the issue of turning the Ariel University Center into a university. I reiterate that Ariel is an inseparable part of the State of Israel and it will remain an inseparable part of the State of Israel in any future agreement just like the other settlement blocs. Approving the university in Ariel is one of a series of actions that we are taking in order to strengthen higher education in the State of Israel. I do not think that it is sufficient that the State of Israel has seven universities; another university has not been added in decades. The population of Israel has doubled, even tripled. There is a strong desire on the part of young people in Israel to receive a university education, and I do not accept the approach of keeping a closed guild. I love to break monopolies and cartels in every field, and this one of them. If anyone has any doubt about whether or not I have a clear position on this issue, I would like to express it here. It is important that there be an additional university in Israel; it is important that there be a university in Ariel.
Last night I spoke with Noam Gershony who won a gold medal at the Paralympics. Noam encapsulates the image of the State of Israel and its story. He represents the victory of the spirit over all obstacles and I think that his personal story strongly expresses this. Noam was wounded in battle for the State of Israel. Yesterday he won a medal, a gold medal, on behalf of the State of Israel. He did not see this as just his own personal achievement, he saw it as a personal achievement for all of us, and he moved all of us when he wept to the national anthem. On behalf of the Government and the citizens of Israel, I salute you Noam Gershony.
This is the last Cabinet meeting of the outgoing year and this is the fourth time that The Cabinet is marking the start of a new year – this being an unusual event in and of itself over past decades. It broadcasts government stability, which is very important for the State of Israel at all times, but especially now. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the outgoing year was full of activity and this is my opportunity to thank the ministers for their great work on behalf of the people of the State of Israel.
We did many things together and if I were to now detail the Government’s actions, those which it carried out and those which it approved, I would need many hours. Therefore, I have chosen to point out one event per [Hebrew] month in order to note the progress of the State of Israel over the past year.
And so, in Tishrei, the Cabinet approved the agreement to bring Gilad Shalit back home after over five years in captivity.
In Cheshvan, we dedicated the new medical school in Safed, after 37 years in which no new medical school had been dedicated in Israel. We thereby marked a turning point, not only in medicine, but in jumpstarting the Galilee and Safed. By the way, Israel is ranked sixth in the world on the Global Health Index, which was issued recently.
In Kislev, we approved the comprehensive plan to deal with infiltrators, the results of which are already being seen in the field.
In Tevet, tax benefits – that we approved – took effect for working parents and young children – representing a net addition of hundreds of shekels per month to salaries.
In Shevat, we approved the construction of a rail line to Eilat as part of the Government’s plan to invest billions of shekels in infrastructures, highways, railways and interchanges.
In Adar, I traveled to the AIPAC conference in the US to continue explaining and emphasizing the dangers posed to the world by Iran’s arming itself with nuclear weapons. Since then, all of our predictions have come true, one after the other.
In Nisan, the Bank of Israel determined that the Israeli economy grew by 4.7% in the previous year, an impressive achievement given the global economic crisis. I see the difficulties that are yet before us, but I think that if we continue to manage the economy in a responsible manner, we will continue to be above the other economies. By the way, in the same month, Israelis were ranked fourth on the global happiness index.
In Iyar, thanks to the reform we approved, new operators entered the cellular telephone market and prices of cellular calls nosedived, leading to a savings of hundreds of shekels a month for each family.
In Sivan, we expanded free dental care to include children up to age 12. As of the present, over two million free dental treatments have been given to children. This is a very significant achievement.
In Tammuz, we launched an international campaign on Israeli innovations in protecting the environment. This was mainly abroad; it wasn’t seen so much in Israel. But via this campaign we showed the world our breakthrough technologies in the field of environmental protection.
In Av, we completed the construction of over 200 kilometers of the southern security fence and we brought about a 90% decline in the number of infiltrators crossing the border. Soon we will complete the fence in its entirety.
And in [the current month of] Elul, we opened the school year in grand fashion – free education for children from age 3, a savings of NIS 800 per month for hundreds of thousands of parents.
I have not pointed out all of the things that the Government has done, but I think the things I have mentioned reflect the scope of a great achievement. This was a year in which we strengthened the security of the citizens of Israel in the face of the regional unrest around us and in which we kept our economy safe from the collapses that characterized other economies, and I am certain, and I promise, that in the coming year we will continue to achieve results for the citizens of the State of Israel.
Again, a Happy Rosh Hashanah to you all.
May it be a sweet year, a year of achievements, a good year.”