In the last two weeks, various elements have tried to violate the quiet and the security to which we have become accustomed in the last two years. We have no interest in escalating the situation.

 Cabinet communique


Israel Cabinet meeting (Reuters archive photo)

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

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

1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:

"The last two years have been the most quiet in the past decade, vis-à-vis security in the south and in general. During these two years, we adopted a policy of systematic and consistent responses to any attack against Israel. In the last two weeks, various elements have tried to violate the quiet and the security to which we have become accustomed in the last two years. Naturally, we are interested in quiet and security. While we have no interest in escalating the situation, we will not hesitate to use the might of the IDF against anyone who attacks our people. We will not countenance attacks on our citizens. This is the policy of the Government of Israel. This is the policy of every government and of every country, which have the right and the obligation to defend their citizens.

Several months ago, we promised that we would establish an aerial firefighting squadron. Today, three of the seven planes are arriving. The other four will arrive in the coming weeks. I hope that next month we will be able to dedicate the ‘Elad’ squadron, after the late Elad Riven. This squadron will provide us with a new dimension of defense against fires and wildfires.

I would like to note that today the Cabinet will discuss issues related to new immigrants. I discussed this in my talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. I especially discussed the issue of pensions and the need to provide for new immigrants who arrive from Russia without pension arrangements. The two countries are holding an intensive discussion about this and I hope it will be resolved.

At the same time, we will decide today, I am certain the Cabinet will approve, to allow municipalities to build hostels for the needy elderly, at reduced prices. I think that this is important news for the needy.

Lastly, we know that there is real distress among the Jews of Tunisia, many of whom would like to immigrate to Israel. We will increase the absorption basket in order to allow them to do so. Israel is the state of the Jews. It worries about Jews wherever they are. Those who are here and those who would like to come here."

2. Prime Minister Netanyahu briefed ministers on his recent trip to Russia, including his meetings with President Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The Prime Minister and his interlocutors discussed various bilateral issues regarding trade, technology development and agriculture, as well as diplomatic and security issues.

3. Defense Minister Ehud Barak briefed ministers on recent security events in wake of the firing from the Gaza Strip at Israeli communities. He reported on the deployment of an Iron Dome battery in the south and clarified that Hamas had announced it was ready for calm and to halt the firing at Israeli communities.

Defense Minister Barak also referred to events in Syria.

4. Pursuant to Article 3A of the 2008 National Security Council Law, the Cabinet approved the appointment of Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror as Director of the National Security Council.

5. Pursuant to Article 23 of the 1959 State Service Law (Appointments), the Cabinet appointed Gideon Schmerling as Director of the Prime Minister’s Office National Information Directorate, to replace Nir Hefetz, who recently stepped down.

6. The Cabinet noted the resignation of Public Services Authority (Electricity) Chairman Amnon Shapiro, effective 1 September 2011.

7. Pursuant to its 19 January 2011 decision and to Article 31D of Basic Law: The Government, the Cabinet decided to transfer the National Emergency Management Authority from the Defense Ministry to the Home Front Defense Ministry.

8. The Cabinet discussed the plight of elderly new immigrants who are eligible for rental assistance and who are waiting for public housing, and decided to build 5,000 residential units for this population group.

9. The Cabinet discussed amendments to the draft 2011 Bailiff’s Office Law.

10. The Cabinet discussed the rehabilitation of Caesarea National Park, following the damage it suffered in a violent storm in December 2010.

11. The Cabinet approved an allocation of NIS 15 million (NIS 9.375 million from the Environmental Protection Ministry, NIS 3.25 from the Prime Minister’s Office and NIS 1.875 million from the Finance Ministry) for the further development of Ariel Sharon (Ayalon) Park.

12. The Cabinet approved special assistance for new immigrants from Tunisia. This is in light of the worsening of the Tunisian authorities’ and society’s attitude toward the Jewish community, as well as the difficult economic situation that has been created in the country since the revolution.

According to the plan, the immigrants – approximately 25 families in the first stage – will receive special assistance worth NIS 15,000 per family, for the 7th-12th months following their immigration, and NIS 18,000 for the 13th-24th months following their date of immigration. This is in addition to the usual assistance provided to new immigrants.

13. The Cabinet decided to establish a Government Computerization Staff Unit in the Finance Ministry.