The Cabinet adopted the Sheshinski Committee recommendations regarding fiscal policy vis-a-vis Israel’s oil and natural gas resources and marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

 Cabinet communique


Israel Cabinet meeting (Photo: Reuters)

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 23 January 2011

1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:

"Today, I am submitting to the Cabinet the Sheshinski Committee conclusions on the natural gas royalties issue. My recommendation is to accept these conclusions and to share in the security costs of this natural resource that belongs to the citizens of Israel. The resource is also important to Israel’s economy and to Israel’s future. Regarding the latter, I intend to establish a fund for Israel’s future that will be devoted to education and security. The fund’s revenues will stem from the natural gas reserves.

We need to do one thing – decide so that we may forward the matter on to the Knesset, so that it may make its decision. We will cooperate with the investors in order to bring the gas to Israel quickly and so the most important thing now is to move forward. This is what we will do today with, I believe, the support of a majority of ministers.

Today, we mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the day to mark the struggle against anti-Semitism. I would like to point out that this UN decision, which is uncharacteristic, was advanced by Israel. It was advanced by then Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, who deserves all praise for this important action. It is important for increasing global awareness – in parliaments, schools and educational institutions – about the horrors of the Holocaust and the heavy price paid by our people and others, of course, but first of all by our people. This leads me to the other side of the decision – the struggle against anti-Semitism, which has not only not disappeared, but has even strengthened. We will hear a briefing by – inter alia – Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, who will give us a current and updated picture of this problem, which threatens our country and our people.

I believe that this combination of these two issues symbolizes the fact that we have a shared fate with the Jewish people and whoever does not think so needs to know that others do. Sartre explained that anti-Semitism stems, first of all, not from the Jews’ diagnosis of themselves, but from the fact that others see them as Jews and do not allow them to evade the significance of this fate. We decided to change the fate of the Jewish people by establishing the State of Israel in the Land of Israel. Our task is – inter alia – to fight anti-Semitism, both that directed against our state and that directed against our people, so that such disasters as we have experienced in the annals of our state do not recur."

Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed the new ministers who have joined the Government – Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Orit Noked – and wished them success.

2. The Cabinet marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day and marked the struggle against anti-Semitism.

Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and Foreign Ministry Diaspora Affairs Division Director Shmuel Ben-Shmuel, and a Prime Minister’s Office representative briefed ministers on anti-Semitic events that occurred around the world in 2010. They discussed trends toward delegitimizing the state of Israel, mainly in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead and the events surrounding the ‘Turkish flotilla,’ and the blurring of the distinction between acts of anti-Semitism against Jews and protests against the State of Israel.

They insisted on the need to increase information activities by Israeli representatives in various international frameworks, as well as the need to increase awareness of learning the lessons of the Holocaust among the public at large in the country, especially among young people.

Yad Vashem Board of Directors Chairman Avner Shalev and Yad Vashem Council Chairman Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau also attended the Cabinet meeting.

3. Minister Vilnai joined the Ministerial Committee on National Security Affairs (the Security Cabinet) as an observer.

4. The Cabinet updated the health services basket.

5. The Cabinet fully adopted the Sheshinski Committee recommendations regarding fiscal policy vis-a-vis Israel’s oil and natural gas resources.

An inter-ministerial team will be established to consider the ways for dealing with the macro-economic aspects of revenues derived from natural resources. A capital fund will also be established, the fruits of which will be directed to two main goals – education and security.  Moreover, the state will share half of the security costs for maritime gas and oil installations and reserves. This will be for installations the security of which has been demanded by the Defense Ministry and at least 25% of the annual output of which will be marketed to the Israeli economy.