The Cabinet approved a plan to strengthen the public health system and began a discussion on the issue of salaries for public company executives

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday 27 February 2011):

1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:

"Today, the Cabinet will deal with a problem in the public health sphere that has not been dealt with for over a decade. In the past decade, there almost has not been an addition to the number of hospital beds in Israel. Today, we are going to change this.

We will decide on an additional 1,000 hospital beds, an addition of 300 beds in the hospital that will be built in Ashdod and an additional 100 beds in psychiatric hospitals. These are genuine needs that have not been dealt with for a decade and we are going to deal with it now, in the framework of a plan that will be spread over five years.

These are not just beds. The beds come with job slots for doctors, nurses and medical students. By adding beds and job slots, we are finally resolving a problem that is choking healthcare in Israel. This move will be good for the system.  This solution will be good for people. It costs money, almost NIS 500,000,000, which the Government will decide on today.  It also includes equipment for the periphery. If one needs an MRI and lives in the periphery, in the north or south, one would need to go to a hospital in the center of the country, far from home. This is going to change because we are adding another five such machines, as well as additional equipment.

I think that this is good socio-economic news of the highest order because the strength of a society is not measured just in security or economic power but in how the elderly, the weak and the sick are cared for. Today, we are taking care of the sick.

I would like to thank Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz for their common effort, over the past months, in preparing this decision. The time has come to deal with health and we are doing just that. I would like to thank you and your staffs, for working with dedication to bring us to this moment.
There are two Israelis missing in New Zealand; there are fears for their lives. We are working with the government of New Zealand, via the Foreign Ministry, to locate those who are missing and to provide assistance, such as I have offered to New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, to help New Zealand overcome this crisis. They have requested certain equipment; we are holding discussions with them today. The Foreign Ministry is in contact with them in order to see what we can send. We would like to accelerate efforts to search for the two missing Israelis. I intend to speak with Prime Minister Key today in order to advance these two issues."

2. The Cabinet approved the following Foreign Service appointments:

  • Ido Aharoni as Consul-General in New York;
  • Chaim Divon, as Ambassador to the Netherlands;
  • David Segal as Consul-General in Los Angeles;
  • Sharon Bar-Lev, as Ambassador to Ghana;
  • Hillel Newman, as non-resident Ambassador to Tajikistan.

3. The Cabinet approved a plan to strengthen the public health system at cost of over NIS 500,000,000, in order to reduce overcrowding at hospitals, expand health services to citizens and improve community-level preventive care, while giving preference to hospitals in the periphery.

4. On the issue of salaries for public company executives, the Cabinet began to discuss the recommendations of a Ministerial Committee on Legislation sub-committee, which was established on 13 May 2010 to examine the issue. The discussion will continue at a future Cabinet meeting.