The map of national priority zones comprises two million citizens, including 40% of the State of Israel’s non-Jewish citizens.

 Cabinet communique


Archive photo: Reuters

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 13 December 2009:

1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:

"I congratulated Prof. Ada Yonath on winning the Nobel Prize.  She was right between meetings with Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf. I told her that she brings great honor, both in her wisdom and in representing the State of Israel.

Prof. Yonath is the first Israeli woman to win a Nobel Prize. Five Israeli scientists have won Nobel Prizes in the last seven years. I do not think that this is coincidental. The State of Israel, in relation to its population, has won more Nobel Prizes than any other country. There is also a disproportionate relationship given the number of Jews in the world. Jews win Nobel Prizes and I think that this is a great blessing and honor for the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

Of course, this is not automatic and depends on the tradition of study and research and also on the resources we devote. It seems to me that we must consider not only the education and higher education systems but the question of basic research. It is basic research that produces the Nobel and other prizes in the sciences.
I have decided to speak with Prof. Yonath and with other Nobel laureates, upon her return to Israel. I have invited Professor Avram Hershko, Prof, Emanuel Trachtenberg and my economics adviser, Prof. Eugene Kandel, to meet and discuss the focus on basic research. Nobel Prizes stem from basic research and we will give it special treatment.

I also sent congratulations to US President Barack Obama on his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. I think that he said important things regarding the need to struggle against the evil that threatens the world and I also thank him for his efforts to advance the security and peace that we aspire to."

2. The cabinet discussed the issue of a "green Government" – improving the efficiency of Government ministries vis-à-vis environmental and other aspects.

3. Regarding the issue of defining communities and regions as national priority zones, Prime Minister Netanyahu said:

"Today, we will discuss the map of national priority zones. This map is part of our plan to draw the periphery closer. We will do so via a national transportation network that will be presented to the Government soon and via what we have already done to release lands and simplify procedures at the Israel Lands Administration and simplify construction. Part of the work has already been done and the rest will be carried out in the coming months, including this step, the goal of which is to help close the gaps that have been created between the various parts of the country.

In the decision that will are submitting today, two million citizens are included. Approximately 40% of the State of Israel’s non-Jewish citizens are included in this decision. We are providing benefits in education, employment and infrastructures. We are also trying to provide tangible aid to those who bear the security burden every day. We will hold a discussion and decide; I am sure that we will make the best decision."

The Cabinet decided – inter alia – to work towards the development of national priority zones in order to achieve the following goals:

a) Encouraging population dispersal within the State of Israel, increasing the population in periphery areas and those areas defined as adjacent to borders;
b) Reducing gaps vis-à-vis opportunities and standards of living between national priority zones as defined herein and the Tel Aviv district, as defined by the interior Ministry, as well as encouraging economic growth in periphery areas as defined herein;
c) Maintaining and strengthening the national security of the state of Israel as defined herein and
d) Establishing new communities.

3. The Cabinet discussed support for the Druze High School for the Sciences and Leadership.

4. The Cabinet discussed the reclassification of Har Amasa from a kibbutz to some other type of community.