Israel Political Brief July 16, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Achieves Agreement on Establishing a National Fire and Rescue Service



Agreement Achieved on Establishing a National Fire and Rescue Service

Source: PMO, 7-16-12

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, today, presented the reform of the fire service. In the framework of the reform, a national fire and rescue service will be established to replace the local fire services in the local authorities; the fire service budget will also be increased to NIS 1 billion. The budgetary outline for implementing the reform was formulated by Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Harel Locker; the base for the fire service budget, which currently stands at NIS 700 million, will be increased by NIS 300 million over the next six years, NIS 100 million of which will be allocated in 2013.

The Knesset Interior Committee is expected to approve the reform today ahead of its second and third readings in the plenum next Monday.

Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked Ministers Steinitz and Aharonovitch, Deputy Finance Minister Yitzhak Cohen, Knesset Finance Committee Chairman Moshe Gafni, PMO Director-General Locker and Fire and Rescue Service Commissioner Shahar Ayalon for the joint effort that led to the formulation of the reform. “I would like to thank the firefighters and their commander, Shahar Ayalon, who battle amidst the heat on the fireline. This war against fires is effective and we see the results. For the first time in many years, we are submitting a national fire service with one commander and two arms – the ground arm, which has been upgraded, and the aerial arm, which has been established. Part of these changes have already taken effect and what we have seen until today, that over 200 fires have been extinguished since the Carmel wildfire, without developing into massive fires, is the result of the upgrade that has been done,” the Prime Minister said.

Public Security Minister Aharonovitch said, “We are witnessing an historic day and are in a completely different place than where we were one-and-a-half years ago. There is a great change here. We saw the results yesterday as well, with the dramatic change effected by the planes and their many sorties. We have entered a new era and I hope that next Monday, we will have a law that we can all welcome.”

Finance Minister Steinitz said, “The State of Israel has been waiting for this reform for 20 years, a reform that puts in place a single national fire service, with one command, with the ability to move efficiently from place to place. The reform also needs financing and the budget that we are talking about today will go directly toward financing the reform and promises a genuine improvement in the fire service.”

Fire and Rescue Service Commissioner Ayalon said, “This is an historic process and an historic moment. Now, for me, the work on building a fire service begins. I would like to thank everyone for the expedited work on the reform.”

Israel Political Brief July 10, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Announces Launch of $25 Million Food Aid Program



Israeli gov’t launches $25 million food aid program

Source: JTA, 7-10-12

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a $25 million government food aid program.

The initiative was presented Monday at a news conference in Jerusalem.

The money reportedly will be used to provide debit cards to purchase food in place of food baskets. The program also will establish a committee to create an ethical code for food charities to follow….READ  MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief July 9, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at a Press Conference on Nutritional Security on Poverty Data



PM Netanyahu’s Remarks, at a Press Conference on Nutritional Security, on the Poverty Data Presented by the National Insurance Institute Director-General

Source: PMO, 7-9-12

Photo by GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, made the following remarks, at a press conference on nutritional security, on the poverty data presented by National Insurance Institute Director-General Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef:

“They say that nothing is being done, they say that nothing is happening. Look at what is happening here. Poverty has declined, just as Prof. Mor-Yosef has said, for one simple reason – because we intervened here with two populations, the elderly and the handicapped, and I think that this is very significant.

We have endured three years of global economic crisis. Other western economies are groaning under the burden. They are greatly cutting social welfare budgets, there are waves of dismissals and major unemployment. This is not the situation in the State of Israel; the opposite is true. Our unemployment situation is very good, apparently better than almost all developed countries.

We have added significant social welfare budgets in a way that focuses on the needy populations, not with an open hand and an undiscerning eye, but with an open hand to focused needs, and this is showing signs in a turning point in the poverty trends.”

On the implementation of the Trajtenberg report, Prime Minister Netanyahu said:

“They say that the Trajtenberg report has been for naught. Not true. This includes the law on free education from age 3, a great thing, a revolution that will go into effect at the end of August at the start of the school year. We added tax credit points – this is money in people’s pockets. We lowered taxation. We allowed people to buy products over the Internet without duties. All of these things have lowered the cost of living. As you know, we added free dental care until age 12; this means a great number of free dental treatments for children.

We also did other things to lower the cost of living, such as the reform of the cellular phone market – all of this together puts money in citizens’ pockets. You lower the cost of living and we will continue in this direction today with a very, very important and dramatic decision for the needy population.”

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