PM Netanyahu: After 64 years in which this issue has not been properly dealt with, we are facing a historic move, a dramatic increase in the participation of the ultra-orthodox and Arab publics in bearing the burden.
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday, 8 July 2012):
1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:
"Several months ago, I said that I would submit to the Knesset a law on service for everyone. I said that what has been is not what will be, because on the issue of the division of the burden the existing situation cannot continue. Neither the army, the economy nor society can continue on the current path. Therefore, I completely understand the demand of those who serve and their families.
I also believe that the decisive majority of Israelis, including many in the ultra-orthodox sector, understand that change must come. We are citizens of one state and we must all participate in bearing the burden of service to the state. We intend to give positive incentives to those who serve, negative incentives to those who evade and to enact genuine enforcement measures in order to ensure that a genuine change indeed takes place.
After 64 years in which this issue has not been properly dealt with, we are facing a historic move, a dramatic increase in the participation of the ultra-orthodox and Arab publics in bearing the burden. Such an increase has started, it is welcome, it is important – but it is not enough. We want to bring about a dramatic increase in the rate of participation.
In order for this increased involvement to succeed, we must enact it gradually and in a way that does not lead to a rift in the nation. Our unity is the first component of our national strength. In light of all this, I have agreed with Minister Mofaz on the immediate establishment of a team to formulate draft legislation on equality in bearing the burden. I have appointed Minister Mofaz and former Chief-of-Staff Moshe Yaalon to represent us, the Government, on the team. MK Plesner will also be appointed. They will be joined, as necessary, by Defense, Finance and Justice Ministry representatives, and by a Civilian Service representative. The goal is to formulate a draft law this week in order to submit it to next week’s Cabinet meeting. The new law will apply to everyone: Secular and ultra-orthodox, Jews and Arabs, everyone.
We will enact an historic change in the division of the burden. We will dramatically increase the number of those who bear the burden. We will maintain the unity of the nation."
2. Pursuant to Article 23 of the 1959 State Service law (Appointments), the cabinet appointed Aridi Naim as Israeli Ambassador to Norway in place of Eligal Michael.
3. The Cabinet also approved the following appointments:
* Menachem Kanafy as Israeli Consul-General in Bangalore; and
* Raphael Harpaz as Israeli Ambassador to Azerbaijan.
4. Pursuant to Article 12 of Basic Law: The President of the State, the Cabinet decided that Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman shall be the authorized minister to countersign the President’s signature regarding:
* pardons for offenders and reducing/commuting their sentences, according to Article 11b of the aforesaid Basic Law; and
* the President’s authority under Article 18 of the 1981 Criminal Registry Law.
5. The Cabinet approved draft amendments to legislation regarding the location of the assets of Holocaust victims and their restoration to the victims’ heirs.
6. The Cabinet decided to conclude the bringing of the Falash Mura to Israel no later than March 2014.
7. The Cabinet decided to increase – and provide budgets for – projects to encourage immigrant absorption in the field of education.
8. Transportation, National Infrastructures and Road Safety Minister Yisrael Katz briefed the Cabinet on his ministry’s activities in 2011-2012 and on current and future transportation projects.