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

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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.”

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Israel Political Brief May 5, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu at Weekly Cabinet Meeting: Jerusalem is On a Roll

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Netanyahu: Jerusalem is On a Roll

Source: Arutz Sheva, 5-5-13

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu convened the Cabinet for a special session in honor of the 46th Jerusalem Day at the Herzl Museum Sunday….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 5, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting About Jerusalem Day / Yom Yerushalayim

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

Source: PMO, 5-5-13

יום ראשון כ”ה אייר תשע”ג

Photo By GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting, which was held at the Herzl Museum on Mt. Herzl, in honor of Jerusalem Day:

“We are marking Jerusalem Day here in the museum on Mt. Herzl. Herzl said, ‘In Basel, I founded the Jewish State’ and in Jerusalem we are developing the Jewish State and ensuring its future.

There is no place more fitting from which to call on the children and citizens of Israel to come visit Jerusalem, to come to this museum, to see the greatness of this man, who was one of the giants of history. I think that it was his vision and his strength, which breathed life into a scattered and weak people that was unable to see to its own fate, that brought us here – to a new life. It would be proper for every boy and girl in Israel, and the many who visit here, to understand our roots, our ties to Zion and our obligation to continue developing our land and our state for the coming generations.

I am also pleased to tell you that we can mark a very important development in Jerusalem. In recent years, there has been very strong momentum in all areas: Education, culture, sports, transportation, tourism, and science and medicine. There has been very major development in all these areas. Jerusalem is becoming a modern metropolis with a very strong link to the past and a very promising leap to the future. This is exactly what Herzl envisioned; by the way, this is how he wrote about Jerusalem and about the entire Land of Israel.

I am pleased that we are cooperating on this. This meeting expresses the Government’s commitment to continue the momentum, along with the Municipality of Jerusalem and with all ministries, in all areas, so that this change, this turning point might continue unabated.”

דברי ראש הממשלה בפתח ישיבת הממשלה השבועית שהתקיימה בסימן יום ירושלים בהר הרצל

Source: PMO, 5-5-13
יום ראשון כ”ה אייר תשע”ג

ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו בפתח ישיבת הממשלה השבועית שהתקיימה בסימן יום ירושלים בהר הרצל: “אנחנו מציינים כאן את יום ירושלים בהר הרצל, במוזיאון של חוזה המדינה. הרצל אמר: “בבאזל ייסדתי את מדינת היהודים” – ובירושלים אנחנו מפתחים את מדינת היהודים ומבטיחים את עתידה.

אין מקום ראוי יותר מלקרוא לאזרחי וילדי ישראל לבוא לבקר בירושלים, לבוא למוזיאון הזה, לראות את הגדולה של האיש הזה, שהיה אחד מענקי ההיסטוריה. אני חושב שהחזון והעוצמה שלו, שהפיח חיים בעם מפוזר וחלש שלא יכול היה לדאוג לגורלו, הם שהביאו אותנו לכאן- לחיים חדשים. ראוי שכל ילד וילדה בישראל וגם רבים שמבקרים כאן, יבינו מה השורשים שלנו, מה הקשר שלנו לציון והמחויבות שלנו להמשיך לפתח את ארצנו במולדתנו, ואת מדינתנו לדורות הבאים.

אני שמח גם לומר שבמעמד הזה אנחנו יכולים לציין התפתחות גדולה מאוד בירושלים. בשנים האחרונות יש תנופה חזקה מאוד בכל התחומים: בחינוך, בתרבות, בספורט, בתחבורה, בתיירות, במדע וברפואה, ישנה התפתחות גדולה מאוד. ירושלים הופכת להיות מטרופולין מודרני עם חיבור חזק מאוד לעבר והזנקה לעתיד מאוד מבטיח. זה בדיוק החזון של הרצל, אגב, כך הוא כתב על ירושלים, כמו שהוא כתב על ארץ ישראל כולה.

אני שמח שאנחנו משתפים פעולה בדבר הזה. הישיבה הזאת מבטאת את המחויבות של הממשלה להמשיך את התנופה, יחד עם עיריית ירושלים, בכל המשרדים ובכל האפיקים, כדי שהשינוי הזה, התפנית הזאת תימשך במלוא עוצמתה”.

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 10, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting — Thanks 32nd Government Cabinet Ministers

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

Source: PMO, 3-10-13
יום ראשון כ”ח אדר תשע”ג

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

“Apparently, this will be this Cabinet’s last meeting. I would like to thank the ministers for their excellent work over the past four years. These were four years of continuous action, of setting goals and achieving them. I think that with the perspective of time, this Government will be remembered as one of the governments that achieved more than almost any other in the history of the State of Israel. The achievements are many, they are all-embracing. We will take a moment and discuss them during this meeting, but I think that we have led the State of Israel to a situation in which it is more secure, more prosperous, and has made more progress in all the areas in which we have been active. I think that this is our foremost goal; to lead the country to a better situation that the one in which we received it, and there is no doubt that this was done.

We did all of this while the world around us was changing for the worse. The regional situation is changing for the worse. The global economy is wobbly and unstable, and the State of Israel, in this sense, is in a better situation. We still face very great challenges; of course, in lowering the cost of living and housing, in equality in sharing the burden, and above all, the major security challenges, there are no other words, the major security challenges that are piling up around us. We will, of course, need to deal with these in the next government.

I expect that the ministers in the next government will take your actions as an example, ministers and deputy ministers. Your work will serve as an example for the next government and if we act with the same focus, the same cooperation, we will, in the next government, I am sure, be able to overcome the challenges that we face.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief February 17, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting on Prisoner X Issue

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דברי ראש הממשלה בפתח ישיבת הממשלה

Source: PMO, 2-17-13

יום ראשון ז’ אדר תשע”ג
סגור
צילום: ארכיון לחץ להגדלה
צילום: ארכיון

בוקר טוב,

בפתח הישיבה אני מבקש לומר שאני סומך לחלוטין על כוחות הביטחון של מדינת ישראל. הם פועלים במסירות ובמחויבות אין קץ להבטיח שנוכל לחיות בארץ הזו. אני גם סומך באופן מוחלט על רשויות החוק במדינת ישראל.
כוחות הביטחון והמודיעין של ישראל פועלים תחת פיקוחן המלא של רשויות החוק שהן עצמאיות לחלוטין.
בשילוב הזה של שמירה על הביטחון ושמירה על החוק נשמר גם חופש הביטוי, אבל חשיפת יתר של פעילות ביטחונית ופעילות מודיעינית יכולה לפגוע ולפעמים אף לפגוע קשות בביטחון המדינה, ולכן בכל דיון אין לזלזל באינטרס הביטחוני, ובמציאות שבה חיה מדינת ישראל זה חייב להיות אינטרס מרכזי. אנו לא ככל שאר המדינות.
אנחנו מדינה דמוקרטית למופת ושומרים על הזכויות של הנחקרים וזכויות הפרט לא פחות משום מדינה אחרת. אבל אנחנו גם יותר מאוימים, יותר מאותגרים ולכן אנחנו חייבים לדאוג לשמור על פעילות תקינה של זרועות הביטחון שלנו. ולכן אני מבקש מכולם, תנו לכוחות הביטחון להמשיך לעבוד בשקט כדי שנוכל להמשיך לחיות בביטחון ובשלווה במדינת ישראל.

הממשלה תשמע היום סקירה לקראת ביקורו של נשיא ארה”ב ברק אובמה בישראל, שצפוי להתקיים בחודש הבא. אנחנו בעיצומן של ההכנות לביקור הזה. הוא יתמקד בשלושה נושאים: אחד, ההתקדמות של איראן להשגת נשק גרעיני.
לצערי, ההתקדמות הזאת נמשכת, איראן מאיצה לאחרונה את פעילותה הגרעינית, היא מעשירה חומר ברמה גבוהה, והיא מתקינה צנטריפוגות חדשות כדי לקצר את זמן ההגעה וזמן החצייה של הקו האדום שהצבתי בנאומי באו”ם. הנושא השני יהיה התפרקות המשטר בסוריה. אנחנו ראינו אתמול את הקרבות שמתנהלים גם בגבולנו. אנחנו נמשיך לשמור על הגבול ונמנע מעבר וכניסה לתוך ישראל, למעט מקרים חריגים, בודדים, שכל אחד מהם יישקל לגופו. שלישית, אנחנו נדון בהתנעת התהליך המדיני עם הפלסטינים. בסוף השבוע חזר עו”ד מולכו, נציגי לשיחות, מסבב שיחות בוושינגטון.

השבוע צפוי לצאת לשם היועץ לביטחון לאומי יעקב עמידרור. אין ספק שהנושא הזה יעלה על הפרק ויהיה חלק מעבודתה של הממשלה הבאה. בביקור הזה אנחנו נדון בעצם בנושאים המשמעותיים ביותר לביטחונה של מדינת ישראל ולהבטחת עתידה.

היום הזה, ז’ באדר, הוא גם יום הולדתו ויום פטירתו של משה רבנו. זה היום שבו אנחנו מציינים את יום הזיכרון לחללי צה”ל שמקום קבורתם אינו ידוע. מדינת ישראל עושה כל הזמן מאמצים להחזיר את חללינו לקבר ישראל, ופועלת ללא הרף כדי לאתר את נעדרנו.

תודה רבה לכם.

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 20, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting on Tu B’Shvat, the festival of trees

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

Source: PMO, 1-20-13

יום ראשון ט’ שבט תשע”ג

Photo by GPO

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

“Today, we mark the week in which Tu B’Shvat – the festival of trees – occurs and there is a celebration of planting in the Land of Israel. We are bringing about a green revolution, the good green in a Middle East of parks and forests. This good green is in the State of Israel, part of this work is in Samaria, in establishing a Jewish city in Samaria; this mission was carried out by our friend Ron Nachman, who passed away. I think that everyone who knew Ron, and many here did, are familiar with his unique contribution in establishing Ariel, both in vision and deed. He gave his life to this vision and he realized it. Today we part from our dear friend who managed to build Ariel into a city of culture, with a university. I regret that he did not have additional years in which to enjoy the fruit of his labors.

Last night, I met with five US Senators, Democrats and Republicans, and I told them that the problem is not building in Ariel and it is not building in Jerusalem. The problem in the Middle East is Iran’s attempt to build nuclear weapons, and the chemical weapons in Syria and the Islamic extremism that is spreading in Africa and threatening to inundate the entire region. I told them that history will not forgive those who allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons. This was, and remains, the main mission facing not only myself and the State of Israel, but the US as well.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 13, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Cabinet Meeting on Evacuation of Palestinians from E-1 Corridor

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

Source: PMO, 1-13-13

יום ראשון ב’ שבט תשע”ג

Photo by GPO

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

“I would like to praise the Israel Police, with the support of the IDF, for its rapid and determined operation to evacuate the Palestinian gathering in the area between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim. As soon as I was updated on the Palestinian gathering, I ordered its immediate evacuation and it was indeed carried out last night in the best possible manner. Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, I would like to thank you and Israel Police Commissioner Inspector-General Yohanan Danino on the excellent operation; I am certain that to the degree that it will yet be necessary to watch over the area, you will do so as effectively as possible. We will not allow anyone to harm the contiguity between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim.

Over the weekend, somebody criticized my government over the investments we made in security. Indeed, in contrast to governments that invested billions in the disengagement, we invested billions in building up our strength so as to ensure the security of Israel’s citizens. We invested and we will continue to invest in Iron Dome, which stopped the missiles, in the security fence in the south, which stopped the infiltrators, in cybersecurity and in the offensive and defensive capabilities of the IDF, Mossad and ISA.

These capabilities have already found expression in various areas, including during Operation Pillar of Defense, which was conducted responsibly and wisely and which achieved its goals. It is no coincidence that the security situation in the country is the best it has been in years and this is in the face of the great security upheaval around us and in our region. I would like to commend the ministers who dealt with the issue and the government for backing the important operations to ensure the security of Israel’s citizens.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief December 23, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting on Southern Israel, IDF Attacks & Syria

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

Source: PMO, 12-23-12

יום ראשון י’ טבת תשע”ג

Photo by GPO

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

“We are simultaneously dealing with three fronts. Today’s Cabinet meeting will open with the south, it is quiet there – but we have loose ends to deal with on the home front, with additional grants that we will give to people and communities. By all accounts, the home front was dealt with very successfully in the last operation and later today I will also hold a summary discussion of the home front lessons from Operation Pillar of Defense. Therefore, first of all, we will discuss the continuation of the successful handling of the south.

We have also recently been witness to disturbances and attacks on our forces. Later today, we will visit IDF Central Command in order to closely monitor developments as well as the necessary steps to deal with each possible scenario.

We are also monitoring developments in Syria, where there are dramatic developments almost daily. We are cooperating with the US and, together with the international community, are taking the necessary measures to prepare ourselves for the possibility of far-reaching changes in the regime, with implications for the sensitive weapons systems there

Full Text Israel Political Brief October 14, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the weekly Cabinet meeting

Source: PMO, 10-14-12

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

“First, I would like to commend the IDF’s precise action in the Gaza Strip last night. Global Jihad has stepped up its efforts to attack us and we will continue to operate against it, aggressively and in strength, both in response and in preventive counter-terrorism.

At the same time, there are increasing attempts to carry out cyber-attacks on computer infrastructures in the State of Israel. Every day there are attempts, even many attempts, to infiltrate Israel’s computer systems. It was because of this that I established the National Cyber Bureau and it is working to block these attempts by developing what I would call a ‘digital Iron Dome’ for Israel to defend against computer terrorism. Just as we have Iron Dome against missiles and a security fence against infiltrators and terrorism – we will have a similar defense against cyber-attacks. But like building the fence, time is needed to complete it, and we are working on it nonstop.

Today we are marking the International Day of Older Persons. We will submit to the Cabinet a proposal to promote employment among older people. I believe that a job is the most social thing there is for people of all ages and I call your attention to the fact that over the past four years we have added over 300,000 jobs, an all-time record, and this was during a global economic crisis that has not only toppled economies, but has increased unemployment rates around the world. Even during the three month election period, we will continue to act responsibly in order to safeguard the economy and, most importantly, to maintain Israelis’ jobs and even add to them.

Today we will also declare Be’er Sheva, the capital of the Negev, to be a national priority community. We are investing very much in Be’er Sheva and in the rapid transportation routes to it, to link it with the center of the country and also allow it to develop. It is developing quickly with considerable momentum. I would like to take this opportunity to note that we have an excellent partner in Mayor Rubik Danilowitz, and I say to him, thank you very much. Thank you for your cooperation and we will continue to work together.

And to the students. I would like to say something to the 300,000 students who are starting the academic year: No government has contributed more to higher education than this one. We have invested billions in higher education and there has been a welcome change here, also amidst the great crisis. We have added, we have supported, we have developed, and we wish you a successful academic year.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 23, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

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

Source: PMO, 9-23-12

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

“Good morning.

Last Friday there was a terrorist attack on our border with Egypt in which IDF soldier Netanel Yahalomi fell. Netanel had a non-combat [medical] profile but insisted on serving as a combat soldier so he could defend the homeland. We send our condolences to his family. In the same incident, the men and women soldiers of the Caracal unit stormed the terrorists’ position and killed three of them. An IDF soldier was wounded; we wish him a rapid recovery.

I would like to praise the action of our fighters in preventing a terrorist attack that could have been much deadlier, and I think that this underscores the importance of the Government’s decision to build a security fence on the border with Sinai. Without a Government decision to build a security fence on our border with Sinai, Israel would be flooded with illegal work infiltrators, as well as terrorist cells on the ground. This has been prevented due to this decision and due to the action of the IDF’s fighters. This was done of course, we made our decision, after the issue had not [previously] been dealt with.

Today, I would also like to focus on another thing that the Government did after many years in which the issues were not dealt with – I mean in the health field. We will hear a briefing by Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman on the Government’s impressive activity in this area. We are now adding hospital beds after a decade in which not a single bed was added. In the decade before the Government was established, not one hospital bed was added – we are adding 1,000 hospital beds. We recently dedicated a medical school in Safed, after almost 40 years in which no new medical school was opened in Israel.  We all know that there is always a shortage of doctors – we are trying to close this gap, inter alia, by this measure.

We are also taking a series of steps to lower the cost of medical treatments. We enacted free dental care up to age 12 – as of now there have been approximately two million free treatments. We also canceled the fee for infant care clinics; it had risen by hundreds of shekels. We are subsidizing things such as hearing aids. We have strengthened medicine in the Galilee and the Negev by opening forwar5d emergency rooms, emergency rooms in 12 communities. We have added MRI machines to the hospitals there; this had been a continuing complaint for years and this was also dealt with.

I would like to say that this investment has had results. Recently, Israel was ranked 6th in the global health index of 143 countries. One item that was checked was life expectancy. For men, we ranked second among OECD member states; the life expectancy of women is higher, and it is increasing. This, of course, is good news. I would like to thank you, Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, and the people at your ministry for this important work in strengthening the health of Israeli citizens.

After Yom Kippur, I will take off for the US in order to speak there before the UN General Assembly on behalf of the citizens of Israel. After the speech, I will meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who recently made a moral and brave decision against Iran, and with US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. I will reiterate that the most dangerous country in the world must not be allowed to arm itself with the most dangerous weapon in the world.

In conclusion, this is the last Cabinet meeting for our friend, Minister Yossi Peled. Yossi, yours is the story of the State of Israel. You survived the holocaust and came to contribute to the revival of our nation: You were an IDF soldier and then commander, and afterwards GOC Northern Command, and afterwards you entered public life and became a Government minister.

We attended several ceremonies together. Perhaps the most moving of these was at the Wansee Villa in Germany, where the Final Solution, was decided upon, and I remember that we stood together and were moved to the depths of our souls by the story encapsulated in your life’s work. I was repeatedly impressed by this there, in the many conversations that we had, and I know that you will yet continue in public life, but I would like to thank you on behalf of the Cabinet, your friends, and on behalf of all Israelis, for your contribution to the revival of Israel. Good luck Yossi and I think that you would like to say a few words.”

Following is an excerpt from Minister Peled’s remarks:

“…I want to tell you, to you [Mr. Prime Minister] and to everyone – this Government, in one area, did something that no government has done since 1953, in caring for Holocaust survivors…And do you know what, Mr. Prime Minister? Just for this it was worth it for me to be in the Government…”

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 10, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting — Discussed Free Education, Hebrew Book Week & Syria

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

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

Source: PMO, 6-10-12

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s and Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting today:

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “Good morning. We are currently integrating teachers into the free education law, or the free education of children from age three law. Five months ago, we passed a Cabinet decision on free education for children from age three-four.  This was designed to be spread out over three years, but already in the coming year, approximately 80% of relevant children will be integrated into the free education framework. This means approximately 250,000 children. This decision saves families, young couples and young parents approximately NIS 800 for every child.

This decision followed tax benefits that we gave to young couples. Add this to other things that we are doing, such as increasing competition in the cellular phone market, which also saves hundreds of shekels a month, and you will see an outstanding expression of our action to lower the cost of living in the State of Israel.  I emphasize this because we see what is occurring around us, what is occurring in economies that are on the brink of collapse.  We are administering and navigating the economy in a very responsible manner and are constantly working to lower the cost of living for citizens, but in a responsible manner, and we will continue to do so.

When I say that we see what is happening around us, we also see what is happening in Syria where civilians are simply being slaughtered.  We see the horrifying pictures of children and the elderly.  This is a slaughter that is being perpetrated not only by the Syrian government.  Iran and Hezbollah are helping it, and today the world needs to see this axis of evil: Iran-Syria-Hezbollah – the face of this axis of evil is fully revealed for what it is.  Everyone should understand the environment we live in.

We are in the midst of Hebrew Book Week and I think that it is important for us as a Government, a state and a people to encourage reading and writing.  We are the People of the Book even in the Tablet age.  And we are in the midst of a month of reading and literature.   This is not self-evident.  In the modern world in which we live, there is the possibility of unraveling and losing the ability to write and of authors to write and earn a decent living, and also the loss of the ability to read.  When we were children, we read a lot.  I think that many of us became used to our parents reading us a story.  I would like to go back to this, but not just before bed, but to see to it that Israeli children actually read and that Israeli authors continue to write.

To this end, I have asked Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat to say a few words about what we are doing.

Minister Livnat: We are indeed in the midst of Hebrew Book Week.  Mr. Prime Minister, this is the third year that the Culture and Sports Ministry is holding, throughout the country, the ‘Israel Reads’ project, a month of reading and literature, in the framework of which we are holding hundreds of various events in public libraries for children and adults.

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “One of the things that you told me is that public libraries are flourishing in the Internet age.”

Minister Livnat: “Correct.  I will speak about this during the Cabinet meeting.  By the way, there are also Internet connections in the libraries to which there is access; there have been many, many entries.  Moreover, of course, the public libraries are holding meetings with authors, tours in the wake of books and events in cafes with authors, and a long list of activities.  All of this is to draw the public to reading, to authors and to poets.  By the way, it must be said that not only authors are involved, but poets as well; poetry has a very important place.  We are trying to encourage mainly children and youths to read, which is very important for maintaining the Hebrew language.  We are committed to maintaining it.  I would like to thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for the support that have expressed for the law to protect literature and authors that we will submit to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation this afternoon.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “We met this morning, Minister Livnat and I, with three authors and they are all in considerable distress.  They all complained that an author works, invests and it is simply impossible for most authors to earn a living off their work, and this is a problem that we must deal with.

We want to work on a wide plane, in schools, in the educational system, and with the assistance that we give as the Government and as the Culture and Sports Ministry, so as to encourage reading and writing in Hebrew.  This is a tough mission because the economic base of the national state of Hebrew-speakers is small, several million people.  This creates self-evident economic problems.  This is true in Norway, this is true in Sweden, it is true in Denmark and even in large countries such as France.

France, which has approximately 60 million people, with a giant Francophone reservoir, is still not large enough to deal with this problem.  The only place that, maybe, deals with this problem is the English-speaking world and it could be the Chinese-speaking world as well.  One thing is certain: If we want to have culture, even if it is the theater, or a culture of writing and the arts, or other cultural expressions, we must find solutions to the problem that the market, the normal market mechanism, cannot always solve.

Minister Livnat: Indeed so, there is a failure of the market here; this is a complicated and complex subject.  There is an additional market failure here and we cannot live in a situation in which an author receives between NIS 0.80-2.00 per copy for a book he has worked on for three-four years. This is an impossible and an intolerable situation and it needs to be corrected.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “An author that people want to read.”

Minister Livnat: Yes, yes, the most read authors, I am not talking about an author that few people want to read or actually read. This is a failure that must be corrected.  We are trying this experiment, we will evaluate it annually.  Right now, it is for three years, but we will monitor it annually.  This is part of the law by the way.  I believe that thus we will be able to correct this failure, and authors will be able to write.  I do not know if they will be able to earn a living because they also earn a living from lectures, from academia and from other things, but they will at least be able to receive fair compensation for their writing that they labored over so much.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “I thank you all very much. Thank you.”

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