Full Text Israel Political Brief May 12, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting Announcing Cabinet Secretary & on Passing the 2013-14 Budget



PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 5-12-13
יום שני ד’ סיון תשע”ג

Photo by GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:

“First of all, I would like to open with a few words about you Tzvika [Cabinet Secretary Tzvi Hauser]. You are finishing years of dedicated, professional and unconventional work, with out-of-the-box creative thinking that frequently aided me, the government and the state, several of which will become known later. I think that you did so in an exceptional manner and I would like to specially commend the work that you initiated and, to a large extent, led on the national heritage plan.

The heritage plan is designed to join all parts of the people, secular and religious alike, around our ancient and new heritage, ancient from the time of the Bible and afterwards, and modern, from the rise of Zionism, to preserve the actual sites and the intangible, visual, literary and other assets. I think that this is a major revolution in reinforcing the common foundations that define the reason why we are here and, of course, ensure the identity of the coming generations with the Zionist and Jewish enterprise.

I remember that you first brought up the preliminary idea of preserving sites in my first term as prime minister; five sites, including Tel Hai, and then the idea developed. This is thanks to you and I would like to thank you for it, on behalf of the entire government and – I believe – the country.

To fill your position is not simple, but I looked for someone with a background no less impressive and I asked Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Avichai Mandelblit, who was IDF chief advocate general, to do so. I am certain that he brings with him many qualities – legal and others, including knowledge of the security issues, which you also dealt with – for this task, and I will submit his appointment to the Cabinet today in the hope, and with good wishes, that he will continue your success.

Yesterday, we sat until very late on the defense budget and I decided to bring before the Security Cabinet and the full Cabinet a decision that moderates the proposed cut to the defense budget by NIS 1 billion, which will not be at the public’s expense. I would like to make it clear that the IDF – including its commanders, soldiers and weapons – is vital, in both defense and offense, to Israelis’ security; these are two main fronts.

The offensive front is clear. The defensive front is expanding to include the entire home front, the entire State of Israel. And therefore, we need the IDF to continue becoming more efficient, but we also need additional Iron Dome batteries, and I believe that the path I am proposing today strikes a proper balance between the needs of the economy and security needs so as to allow us to achieve both of these goals even though there is always compromise between such needs, and I think that this is the right compromise.

I think that the most important thing for the Cabinet today is to pass the budget. Today, given the State of Israel’s national needs and the global economic crisis, it is important for the State of Israel to show that it is passing a budget. This decision on the defense budget will allow us to pass the budget. We will do this today and by the end of today, the State of Israel will have a budget.

At the same time, we need to continue developing engines of growth. My visit to China, I believe, will aid one of these growth engines – opening the Israeli market, or to be more precise, opening Asia to Israeli initiatives and companies, and this could give us important additional growth.

We will also need to continue the structural reforms inside Israel, starting with port reform, and there will be others. We have started this and we will continue with full vigor. These matters – passing a responsible budget, continuing structural reforms and building growth engines – will, I believe, ensure our economic future in the coming years.

Thank you.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 6-9, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s China Visit Speeches



PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s China Visit

Prime Minister Netanyahu will start his visit in Shanghai where he will hold a series of meetings with Chinese government leaders and business people. He will also visit local industrial plants in order to expand bilateral economic cooperation and significantly increase Israeli exports to China. On Wednesday, 8 May 2013, the Prime Minister is due to arrive in Beijing where he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and other senior officials.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is also due to give a lecture at a school for future leaders and give interviews to the Chinese media, as well as chat with students in order to expose the potential of the Israeli economy….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 9, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Addresses Students at Chinese Future Leadership Training School




PM Netanyahu Address Students at Chinese Future Leadership Training School

Source: PMO, 5-9-13

Photo by GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today addressed students at an elite Chinese school for training future leaders, becoming only the second foreign leader (after the Prime Minister of Singapore) to do so in the past year.

Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked his hosts for according him the honor of speaking to China’s future leaders and told the school directors that leadership is the ability to foresee and change the future.

Prime Minister Netanyahu briefed the students on Israel’s technological abilities and the efforts being invested in finding alternatives to oil in order to reduce the world’s dependence on petroleum. He also noted the agreement that he reached with his Chinese counterpart yesterday on establishing a joint working team to prepare a strategic plan on cooperation in civilian fields such as water, food and public health systems. The Prime Minister asserted that he was in China because he believes in bilateral ties and added that he thought the two countries could achieve better results. In reference to the threats directed against the State of Israel, the Prime Minister said that the most dangerous regime in the world could not be allowed to arm itself with the most dangerous weapons in the world.

Prime Minister Netanyahu signed the guestbook: “Many thanks for inviting me to address China’s future generation of leaders. With deep appreciation and respect, Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Israel Political Brief May 8, 2013: Why is PM Benjamin Netanyahu in China for Yom Yerushalayim?



Why is Netanyahu in China for Yom Yerushalayim?

Source: Algemeiner, 5-8-13

This year, Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, is observed on Tuesday evening, May 7th through Wednesday night, May 8th and celebrates the 46th anniversary of the reunification of Judaism’s holiest city….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief August 12, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting on Defense & Israeli-China Relations



PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 8-12-12

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting today :

“At the start of my remarks, I would like – on behalf of the entire Government – to take leave of Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, who will conclude his duties this week and leave next week for his new post as Israel’s Ambassador to China. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, Matan, for your contribution to the State of Israel, to the security of Israel, over the years, from when you were a private until you attained the rank of major-general and afterwards in the framework of the government, including your preset post.

I will wax nostalgic for a moment and tell our friends here that we were together as young officers in the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, and we would travel together on weekend leaves to Jerusalem. We are Jerusalemites. Our parents were close friends, your father, the late Zeev Vilnai, who researched the Land of Israel, along with my father and your late mother Esther, and my mother. We would meet in our homes. We spoke many times and got to know each other, and I knew you as a man of values, a true Israeli patriot, and also a man who had the great privilege to be a fighter and a commander. Then, let us speak frankly, you had more hair and I was thinner. You stayed thin. You stayed and many things changed and, of course, many things have changed, including – inter alia – the responsibilities that the State of Israel has placed on your shoulders, and you took some of them upon your shoulders, and now you will continue to contribute.

You will continue to contribute to our very important relations with China. They are of decisive economic and international significance. I think that you will have very important tasks there. I am convinced that, as I wish you well ahead of your next contribution, I do so not just on behalf of the ministers in the Government of Israel, but on behalf of all Israelis. Who but you, Matan, knows that, over the years, Israeli governments did not invest enough in home front defense. The missile era began in 1991, during the First Gulf War. There are those who say that it began even earlier.

I think that there has been a very great change during our Government’s term in office. First of all, we established a separate ministry to deal with this issue. Second, you and I and the other relevant ministers hold bi-weekly meetings, along with the National Security Adviser, and monitor the necessary steps o upgrade home front defense. We are investing billions in home front defense, in Iron Dome, in the Arrow, and in other systems that are under development. We are investing a lot of money in defending facilities, institutions and homes. We are holding preparedness exercises for various scenarios regarding home front defense; such an exercise is being held today. We are thoroughly upgrading our warning systems, in which Israel is among the most developed in the world and we are doing other things which I shall not detail here. Therefore, I would like, in my farewell remarks, to say that I esteem you Matan for the important work that you have done in this field, as in others. But you leave behind much work for your replacement and I intend to appoint a replacement in the coming days because I ascribe great importance to the post and want there to be continuity, and not a disruption, in dealing with this important area.

There has been a significant improvement in our home front defense capabilities, in Iron Dome, in the Arrow, in structural reinforcements and shelters, in warnings and in other areas. One cannot say that there are no problems in this field because there always are, but all of the threats that are currently being directed against the Israeli home front pale against a particular threat, different in scope, different in substance, and therefore I reiterate that Iran cannot be allowed to have nuclear weapons.

In this context, I spoke with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon over the weekend. According to reports that have reached me, the UN Secy.-Gen. intends to travel to a conference of non-aligned countries in Tehran. I told him that with all his good intentions, he must not give legitimacy to a regime that disseminates horrific anti-Semitism, the likes of which we have not seen in several decades, since World War II, and to a regime that declares its intention to destroy the State of Israel, that violates all UN decisions, not just against its nuclear program, but against the convention against genocide as well. I told him that his place is not in Tehran. He did not give me to understand that he would change his plans, but we will continue to press, and I think that we will also continue to make clear the absurdity of the UN giving legitimacy to a state that violates all UN rules and intends to destroy another UN member state. I think that this effort is a worthy and important step alongside our other efforts in this field.

I would like to express appreciation for the work of the fire and rescue service against the wave of fires, including those which were deliberately set. Not always, but many times there is a suspicion of arson and I would like to bring it to your attention that we are dealing with this effectively because we upgraded the fire and rescue service. First and foremost, we brought firefighting aircraft. This has enabled us, since the Carmel wildfire, to extinguish approximately 250 fires, including forest fires, wildfires that were extinguished successfully thanks to this upgrade in the air and on the ground. I would like to express appreciation for the firefighters and to those ministers who assisted this same upgrade, in financing and organizing, which has seen results in over 2,000 sorties as of today.

Lastly, this week we will hold an additional Cabinet meeting in order to begin discussing the multi-year plan for not only the defense budget but also the question of our preparations for the defense establishment multi-year plan. This is a necessary condition for integrating decisions in this area with decisions on the budget that will be integrated later. We will also need to decide on both of these, on the yearly and multi-year defense budget and also on our budget for next year.

Thank you.”

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