Cabinet communique


Photo: Reuters

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 19 June 2011:
1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:
Today, the Cabinet will authorize a ministerial committee to deal with the National Housing Commissions Law.  There is a housing shortage in the State of Israel.  Many young people are obliged to live with their parents, and soon, with their grandparents.  Young couples, discharged soldiers and students feel that their dream of purchasing an apartment is moving further away due to rising prices.  Prices are rising because apartments are in short supply in the State of Israel.  Apartments are in short supply because not enough apartments are being planned, and not enough are being marketed.
We started to resolve the marketing side with a historic decision, a historic reform, when we signed – several weeks ago – a major reform at the Israel Land Administration.  We still have to deal with the law on pensions for ILA employees and I hope that this will be done during the Knesset summer recess.  But even this giant reform is not enough.
There is one more condition that must be carried out together with those steps that we have already taken.  We mean a reform of apartment planning.  Completing the legislative process for this reform will take at least a year or two.  Many factors regarding environmental protection and others are lengthening the process.
It is for this reason that we would like to bypass the bureaucracy for 1.5 years with the Housing Commissions Law, which will be submitted to the Cabinet today.  I am certain that the Cabinet will authorize a ministerial committee to expedite matters so that the permanent planning reform law may be completed and we will be able to close the gaps and bring more apartments.
We would like to have approximately 10,000 more apartments per annum.  We have a shortfall of 80,000-100,000 apartments, which significantly hurts young Israelis, and we are simply going to fill the shortfall by an emergency action, i.e. the housing commissions.  Therefore, I am requesting not only ministers’ support today but also MKs’ support during the expedited legislative process, which I would like to complete before the summer recess.
If we have both rapid planning and quick marketing, we will be able to resolve Israel’s housing problems.  This will not happen overnight, by the way, but the giant reforms that we enacted in 2003-2004 have proven themselves vis-à-vis the Israeli economy.  We will do exactly the same thing with basic reforms of the housing market and in the future we will see positive results.  The State of Israel and the housing market will benefit from this for many years.  These are fundamental reforms."
Prime Minister Netanyahu referred to Kiryat Shemona: "I have spoken with ministers regarding the cultural institutions in Kiryat Shemona and we have reached agreement on how to deal with the issue so as to resolve the matter within a week.  I have instructed Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Eyal Gabai to bring about an agreed-upon solution that, I think, will solve the problem.  I updated Kiryat Shemona Mayor Nissim Malka on this decision."
Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "The "Turning Point 5" National Home Front Exercise will be held this week.  The Government has invested greatly in home front defense.  It is the new front.  I would like Home front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai to say a few words."
Minister Vilnai said, "Indeed, this is the fifth year that we have held this exercise.  The exercise regards extreme situations such as massive firing deep into the State of Israel.  I assume that the State of Israel’s deterrent capability, its ability to exact a high price from the other side, is clear to the other side, which will avoid this as much as possible.  It understands why it should avoid it.  In any case, we must hold the exercise and it is designed, first of all, for those who sit around this table, so that we might coordinate among ourselves and take responsibility.

We are also placing emphasis on national infrastructures. All of our national infrastructures will participate in the exercise as will one-third of local councils, which are our cornerstones.  There will be staff exercises in which we will all be involved. I see that ministries are holding discussions led by their ministers; this is very important.  Home Front Command units will hold major field drills.  This exercise will be all throughout the country.  On Wednesday, 22 June, there will be two sirens, at 11:00, when people will be at work; and at 19:00, when people are at home with their families. Everyone will have to ask himself, "What must I do?"  This is an exercise.  I look around the world and nowhere are there exercises of this scope.  It and its success are our security."
2. Pursuant to Article 31b of Basic Law: The Government, the Cabinet decided to transfer to the Prime Minister the Defense Minister’s responsibilities – under Article 19 of the 1985 Budgetary Foundations Law – for the budgets of units attached to the Prime Minister’s Office, the functions of which are related to the security of the state and its residents.  This decision will be submitted for Knesset approval.
3. In continuation of its 22 July 2007 and 19 July 2009 decisions, and pursuant to Article 31d of Basic Law: The Government, the Cabinet decided to transfer responsibility for the World Zionist Organization Rural Settlement Division from the agriculture and Rural Development Ministry to the Prime Minister’s Office.  This decision will be submitted for Knesset approval.
4. The Cabinet approved the draft planning procedures to accelerate residential construction law, which was initiated and advanced by Prime Minister Netanyahu. 
5. Jewish People Policy Planning Institute representatives briefed ministers on various data and trends regarding the challenges facing the Jewish People both in Israel and around the world.  The JPPPI officials discussed – inter alia – demographic and geopolitical developments, the global economic situation’s effects on the Jewish People, assimilation, the campaign to delegitimize and isolate the State of Israel, strengthening ties between Israel and Jewish communities around the world and increasing education.  The officials also discussed the JPPPI’s future plans, including the creation of tools to analyze the trends and developments affecting the Jewish People.