PM Netanyahu: The attempted Hezbollah terrorist attack against an Israeli target in Cyprus was under Iranian auspices. Iran perpetrates terrorism in the Middle East and, of course, we call on the international community to take urgent action
against Iran, which is the biggest exporter of terrorism in the world.
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday, 15 July 2012):
1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:
"I spoke a short while ago with Be’er Sheva Mayor Rubik Danilovich. He was very, very excited because today we are dedicating the high-speed rail link, and now it will be 55 minutes from Be’er Sheva to Tel Aviv and from Tel Aviv to Be’er Sheva. This is down from 76 minutes and we will yet lower it to 45 minutes.
This is a revolution that we always dreamed about. We are carrying it out. It seems to me that this idea started when Silvan Shalom was Finance Minister. I advanced the idea with great urgency and I am proud of the fact that we in this Government, with our energetic Transportation Minister, are realizing this, with support from the Finance Ministry. This is huge.
At the same time, today we will also dedicate the high-speed line from Kiryat Gat to Tel Aviv – 32 minutes. I remind you that this takes much longer than most US and European cities, from the large cities – to go from the city center to the outskirts, than it takes today to go from central Tel Aviv to Kiryat Gat, and even to Be’er Sheva. This is a great cultural, social and national revolution that has to do with population dispersal, creating new possibilities and growth – I think that we can definitely be proud here that we are finally joining the periphery to the center, and the center to the periphery, and this has tremendous consequences, and therefore we are pleased to see the fruit of Government policy.
I would like to update you. 12 infiltrators were detained over the weekend, 64 last week and 183 since the beginning of the month. To compare, 1,000 infiltrators crossed last month. In May, there were 2,000. I remind you that all those who reached the border did not reach the border, sit there and wait for a ride to Tel Aviv or other localities in the State of Israel. This is not what happened. They came and were taken immediately to detention, and we have increased the number of holding places, we increased them thanks to vigorous Government action.
At the same time, this week we will complete the 200th kilometer of the fence. It will take us another few months to complete the 20 additional kilometers in the mountainous areas around Eilat and in the central part of the border with Egypt, and we are applying, I would say, great conscious pressure in Africa to explain to infiltrators that the rules of the game have changed.
Additionally, on my instructions, at the more or less weekly meeting that I hold on the issue of infiltrators – we are going to apply very great pressure on employers, first of all, via the tax authorities, so that they know that there are no free lunches here, and we have also advanced draft legislation to impose much sharper punishments on the employers. The infiltrators come here because they want work. As soon as they know that there is no work here, they will not come, and we still have much to do, and we are working in many areas, some of which I have not mentioned, but there is no doubt that regarding everything we have to do – we are changing the trend, and Israel is headed in the right direction in regard to dealing with a fundamental problem that threatens its Jewish and democratic character.
I would also like to bring to your attention a matter that has already been published in the media and which you know about, the attempted Hezbollah terrorist attack against an Israeli target in Cyprus. This attempted terrorist attack was under Iranian auspices. It is part of an Iranian plan. Iran perpetrates terrorism in Asia, Europe and America – it attempted to the Saudi Ambassador to the US. Iran perpetrates terrorism in the Middle East and, of course, we call on the international community to take urgent action against Iran, which is the biggest exporter of terrorism in the world.
Finally, I would like to comment on the issue of bearing the burden. For 64 years, this issue was not properly dealt with and we are currently facing the possibility of an historic move, the result of which will be an increase in the number of those who serve, both in the military and in national civilian service from age 18, without causing a rift in the nation.
I believe that this move will succeed only if it is carried out gradually but I would like to say that this ‘gradually’ is very ambitious. A few years ago, the number of those who were drafted was tiny, almost non-existent. Last year, it was 2,400. We are talking about reaching 6,000 within four years.
The proposals for the immediate conscription of all ultra-orthodox men from age 18 are not feasible because instead of increasing the number of inductees, I think that what is likely to occur is that the ultra-orthodox public will withdraw into itself and directives will go out to cancel the ultra-orthodox Nahal unit, which we would like to expand, to cancel and to expand programs that integrate the ultra-orthodox into the IDF, the growing technological programs in the IDF that are effecting revolutionary change in the ultra-orthodox public, and afterwards vis-à-vis going out into the labor market.
Therefore, there could be a situation that if we undertake too extreme a move, the number of those serving will shrink instead of grow. Such proposals maybe are good for headlines but it is doubtful whether or not they can be implemented on the ground.
My view on the matter has not changed. Well before the High Court of Justice overturned the Tal Law, I said that I would submit a solution that would increase equality in bearing the burden in a gradual manner by both the ultra-orthodox and the Arabs without setting public against public.
A more equitable division of the burden is important to our national fortitude, unity is also important to our national fortitude, and I am responsible for trying to bring about a solution, together with you, that will achieve both of these ends, so that our national fortitude grows and does not shrink."
2. The Cabinet discussed and approved revised procedures for public sector appointments without tenders.
3. The Cabinet approved a draft amendment to Income Support Law and authorized the ministerial Committee on Legislation to approve and submit a final draft to the Knesset.
4. The Cabinet approved the Ministerial Committee on Legislation’s decision regarding draft amendments to legislation on the employment of people with disabilities.