The Government officially took its leave from outgoing Mossad Director Meir Dagan, after eight years in office.

 Cabinet communique


Israel Cabinet meeting (Reuters archive photo)

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 2 January 2011:
1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:

"There was a meeting here in my office with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Interior Minister Eli Yishai and the mayors. I would like to congratulate everyone for acting responsibly. We reached an agreement. I think that it is a good agreement. It increases the balancing grants for the local councils that have been suffering from this very much. It was also decided to establish a committee to deal with the issue of the water corporations; it will allow us to prevent suffering by many Israelis – families, children and parents. I would like to congratulate everyone for acting responsibly and for the good result in preventing the strike.

This week we will mark 30 days since the major disaster in the Carmel area. We will hold a state memorial ceremony at Beit Oren, very close to the site of the disaster. There, within one year, we will erect a memorial to those who perished, a monument to their heroism and their sacrifice. We have also recognized four of those who perished, two firefighters, the bus driver and 16-year-old volunteer Elad Riven, as having the same status as IDF fallen. Since then we have been busy with the very quick and efficient rehabilitation of the Carmel area.

Today, I will submit an additional decision on this rehabilitation process. Today, we will also issue a memorandum for a decision next Sunday, on three areas. The first is the establishment of a national fire authority. We will submit this, and a budget, for a Cabinet decision so that we may begin to carry it out in another week. Secondly, we will submit, next week, a decision on an aerial firefighting force and its budget. Third, we will concentrate authority for dealing with earthquakes, and a budget, all next week. I believe that this reflects our commitment to ensure that we doing out utmost so that disasters of this kind do not recur."

2. The Cabinet took its leave of outgoing Mossad Director Meir Dagan. Prime Minister Netanyahu made the following remarks:

"Today, the Government officially takes its leave from outgoing Mossad Director Meir Dagan, who is present, after eight years in office and dozens more in the IDF and as an adviser to various prime ministers, myself included, on the issue of terrorism. I have thought how I could thank you for your contributions, your great and considerable contributions, to the security of Israel, in all of these roles.

I cannot tell about all of your actions but I can tell ministers about a conversation we had in the Mossad offices, approximately one year ago. I sat in your office and I saw on the wall the picture of an elderly religious Jew, on his knees before Nazi thugs. This picture caught my eye and I asked you about it. You said that that was your grandfather. I asked you what happened to him. You told me: They murdered him. Then I said, Meir, I understand you; now I understand you. I understand your deep commitment to ensure that nobody could ever again be able to implement the threat of annihilating the Jewish People. This is both a personal and national order and you acted in accordance with it.

As Prime Minister, I would like to thank you on behalf of the Government and citizens of Israel, and on behalf of the Jewish People, for all of the great things that you have done for us, for the security of Israel. Meir, thank you very much."

Meir Dagan made the following remarks:

"I admit that that I am not as good at words as most of those sitting here; therefore, I wrote a few remarks. With your permission Mr. Prime Minister, I would like to read them to the assembled ministers:

Mr. Prime Minister,

At the end of this week, I will transfer command of the Mossad to Tamir Pardo. He served as my deputy for almost six years. His appointment is both worthy and correct given the many difficult, complex and complicated challenges facing us and the Mossad. I would like, before this forum, to wish him heartfelt success. His will be a tangible contribution to the security of the State of Israel.

I hereby finish over 43 years of service to the state. I have had the honor and the privilege of leading the Mossad for the past eight years. With your permission, instead of discussing myself, I would like to say a few words about those who serve in the Mossad.

They are an excellent and unique group of both women and men, who act with originality and daring, who are imbued with a sense of mission, and who work unselfishly night and day. Usually, they do not have backing and support as a group, nor do they have tank or air assistance, and, in most cases, there is no possibility of rescue. They operate with the sole protection of their sharp wits, their cover story and their courage. They cannot even tell their loved ones about what they are doing, and seclusion is their constant companion. What motivates them is the need to protect the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

I was appointed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. I worked under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and I received from them, me and my people, their encouragement, support and backing. I would like, Mr. Prime Minister, to thank you for your support and backing, and I would like to wish you and to the Government of the State of Israel the wisdom to guide the country through stormy seas, and that you will bring Israel to the safe harbors  of peace and security, and will see to the needs of its citizens. Work to strengthen the ties between the Jewish Diaspora and the State of Israel so that we may uphold the verse in Ezekiel (11:17) ‘I will even gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the Land of Israel.’

I did the best I could. Thank you very much."

3. The Cabinet appointed Omri Dagan as Director of the Civil Service Commission Program for Civil Service Cadets.

4. Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Eyal Gabai briefed ministers on activity by the Steering Committee on Rehabilitation following the Carmel fire.

5. The Cabinet approved a NIS 15 million plan for the rehabilitation of rural communities in the Carmel area.

6. The Cabinet approved a NIS 184 million plan to strengthen Sderot and the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip.

7. The Cabinet discussed various recommendations to advance and further develop the electricity economy in Israel.