PM Netanyahu: I would like to praise the action of our fighters in preventing a terrorist attack that could have been much deadlier. This underscores the importance of the Government’s decision to build a security fence on the border with Sinai.
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday, 23 September 2012):
1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:
Last Friday there was a terrorist attack on our border with Egypt in which IDF soldier Netanel Yahalomi fell. Netanel had a non-combat [medical] profile but insisted on serving as a combat soldier so he could defend the homeland. We send our condolences to his family. In the same incident, the men and women soldiers of the Caracal unit stormed the terrorists’ position and killed three of them. An IDF soldier was wounded; we wish him a rapid recovery.
I would like to praise the action of our fighters in preventing a terrorist attack that could have been much deadlier, and I think that this underscores the importance of the Government’s decision to build a security fence on the border with Sinai. Without a Government decision to build a security fence on our border with Sinai, Israel would be flooded with illegal work infiltrators, as well as terrorist cells on the ground. This has been prevented due to this decision and due to the action of the IDF’s fighters. This was done of course, we made our decision, after the issue had not [previously] been dealt with.
Today, I would also like to focus on another thing that the Government did after many years in which the issues were not dealt with – I mean in the health field. We will hear a briefing by Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman on the Government’s impressive activity in this area. We are now adding hospital beds after a decade in which not a single bed was added. In the decade before the Government was established, not one hospital bed was added – we are adding 1,000 hospital beds. We recently dedicated a medical school in Safed after almost 40 years in which no new medical school was opened in Israel. We all know that there is always a shortage of doctors – we are trying to close this gap, inter alia, by this measure.
We are also taking a series of steps to lower the cost of medical treatments. We enacted free dental care up to age 12 – as of now there have been approximately two million free treatments. We also canceled the fee for infant care clinics; it had risen by hundreds of shekels. We are subsidizing things such as hearing aids. We have strengthened medicine in the Galilee and the Negev by opening forwar5d emergency rooms, emergency rooms in 12 communities. We have added MRI machines to the hospitals there; this had been a continuing complaint for years and this was also dealt with.
I would like to say that this investment has had results. Recently, Israel was ranked 6th in the global health index of 143 countries. One item that was checked was life expectancy. For men, we ranked second among OECD member states; the life expectancy of women is higher, and it is increasing. This, of course, is good news. I would like to thank you, Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, and the people at your ministry for this important work in strengthening the health of Israeli citizens.
After Yom Kippur, I will take off for the US in order to speak there before the UN General Assembly on behalf of the citizens of Israel. After the speech, I will meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who recently made a moral and brave decision against Iran, and with US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. I will reiterate that the most dangerous country in the world must not be allowed to arm itself with the most dangerous weapon in the world.
In conclusion, this is the last Cabinet meeting for our friend, Minister Yossi Peled. Yossi, yours is the story of the State of Israel. You survived the holocaust and came to contribute to the revival of our nation: You were an IDF soldier and then commander, and afterwards GOC Northern Command, and afterwards you entered public life and became a Government minister.
We attended several ceremonies together. Perhaps the most moving of these was at the Wansee Villa in Germany, where the Final Solution, was decided upon, and I remember that we stood together and were moved to the depths of our souls by the story encapsulated in your life’s work. I was repeatedly impressed by this there, in the many conversations that we had, and I know that you will yet continue in public life, but I would like to thank you on behalf of the Cabinet, your friends, and on behalf of all Israelis, for your contribution to the revival of Israel. Good luck Yossi."
2. The Cabinet took its leave from Minister Yossi Peled, who is due to retire from the Cabinet. Prime Minister Netanyahu lauded his contributions in the fields of security and public life (see above). Minister Peled thanked him for his remarks.
3. The Cabinet confirmed the appointment of Uriel Palti as Israel’s Ambassador to Nigeria.
4. Pursuant to Article 13c of the 1971 Jewish Religious Services Law, the Cabinet decided to instruct that the 1963 State Service Law and the regulations stemming from it be applied to religious council employees.
5. Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and Health Ministry Deputy Director-General Dr. Boaz Lev briefed the Cabinet on the government’s actions in the health field.