We are closely monitoring what is happening in Syria and we are prepared for any possible development.

 Cabinet communique


Israel Cabinet meeting (Reuters archive photo)

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday, 22 July 2012):

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:

"The victims of the murderous terrorist attack in Bulgaria were laid to rest over the weekend. I assume that like me, you saw the heart-rending scenes at the funerals, families that were torn asunder, and our hearts are with them, with those who have lost their loved ones, and we also pray for the well-being of those who were wounded.

I would like to take this opportunity to also thank the security and rescue forces which sprang into action immediately both to save lives and to bring the wounded home quickly, and of course the Foreign Ministry and our ambassador, the security services, the Health Ministry, the Interior Ministry and everyone who was involved. They all worked with dedication and proficiency out of a very deep obligation. This truly reflects the mutual guarantee that is the foundation of our lives, and I can say that the State of Israel is responsible for its citizens wherever they are. We will continue to fight against terrorism, against the perpetrators and those who dispatch them.

I would like to briefly comment on the events taking place in Syria. We are closely monitoring what is happening and we are prepared for any possible development.

At today’s Cabinet meeting, Minister Yaalon will present the plan that he has prepared. The goal of the plan is to significantly increase the number of ultra-orthodox serving in the IDF and the number of ultra-orthodox and Arabs serving in civilian service. Minister Yaalon has been working on this for several weeks but as I said six months ago – before the High Court of Justice overturned the Tal Law – that we would submit a new law that would gradually increase the number of those who serve, among the ultra-orthodox and among the Arabs, without setting public against public.

I think that one needs to understand that we are going to do this after 64 years, as a different reality has taken shape here in the country, and therefore, we are going to enact a historic change. This will be a realistic change that it will be possible to implement, and not an empty move the goal of which is to grab headlines. We will give more to those who serve and less to those who evade."

2. Pursuant to its 8 February 2009 decision, the Cabinet decided to extend the term of the Director of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission by one year, to 31 August 2013.

3. Vice Premier Moshe Yaalon briefed ministers on the main points of the outline that is being formulated on the issue of promoting equality in bearing the service burden. He informed ministers that more work was needed to coordinate between the various ministries prior to the formulation of a draft decision that will be submitted to the Cabinet at one of its upcoming meetings.

4. The Cabinet decided to approve in principle the 2012 Prevention of Infiltration Law (Offenses and Jurisdiction (Prohibition of Withdrawing Infiltrators’ Funds Outside Israel) and authorized the Ministerial Committee on Legislation to discuss, amend and approve the final version that will be submitted to the Knesset.

Cabinet Secretary Tzvi Hauser presented ministers with data on the number of employed infiltrators and the scope of the funds that they transfer to their home countries, as well as data on infiltrators’ bank accounts and the variety of ways to transfer funds to their countries of origin.

5. The Cabinet approved draft legislation to encourage small and intermediate-sized businesses in Israel.

6. The Cabinet approved draft legislation on providing proper nutrition, and the supervision of food quality, in educational institutions.

7. The Cabinet decided to continue support, in partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel, of the "Morasha" program, which is designed to introduce Jewish students from around the world, aged 17-30, to the State of Israel and the Jewish People and prevent assimilation via a two-year course of studies to enrich their knowledge of Judaism and Israel.

8. Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations ("Mossad") Director Tamir Pardo and Israel Security Agency Director Yoram Cohen briefed the Cabinet on the efforts of Iran and Hizbullah to attack Israeli targets abroad, as well as the actions and efforts to foil such attacks on Israelis, in cooperation with various countries. The two also updated ministers on the investigation into the terrorist attack in Burgas.