On behalf of the Israeli Government and people, I would like to express our participation in the Polish people’s profound grief over the tragic deaths of President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and the other members of the Polish delegation who perished in the plane crash.

 Cabinet communique

 

Israeli cabinet meeting (Reuters archive photo)

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 11 Apil 2010:

1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:

 "On behalf of the Israeli Government and people, I would like to express our participation in the Polish people’s profound grief over the tragic deaths of President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and the other members of the Polish delegation who perished in the plane crash.

I knew president Kaczynski as a leader who did much for his country and as a great friend of the State of Israel. We last met in Warsaw this past January in the framework of the events marking the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and International Holocaust Day.

President Kaczynski led a process of opening a new page in relations between the polish and Jewish peoples, in the framework of Israel-Polish relations. In this context, he advanced the opening of a Holocaust museum in Warsaw, which will be established soon.  His untimely passing constitutes a great loss for the Polish people and all peace- and freedom-loving nations.

Our relationship with Poland is very deep and very important. This finds expression in a broad range of areas. Bilateral relations are very significant for us and I think that they are also very significant for them. To a large degree, it was President Kaczynski who brought this about and I am pleased that there is complete continuity in this regard in the current government. But he must be given important credit for the change towards cooperation and for a comprehensive view of both global problems and the challenges that face free societies. He did much in this regard.

Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day begins this evening. Today, the Cabinet will decide to allocate NIS 50 million in subsidies for medicines for Holocaust survivors. Approximately 80,000 survivors of the camps and ghettoes will receive discounts of up to 90% on medicines. The Cabinet will also approve significant discounts in electricity payments for Holocaust survivors and disabled World War II veterans who are recognized as needy by local authorities.

These decisions join others that have been made in recent years and are designed to assist survivors. The fact that we are making these two decisions today, at the beginning of the Government’s second year in office, attests to our abiding commitment, as well as that of the entire country, to the survivors."

2. The Cabinet approved a reduction in electricity payments for needy Holocaust survivors. 

3. Social Welfare and Social Services Minister Yitzhak Herzog updated the Cabinet on the arrangement his ministry has reached with the Finance Ministry and the Pensioners Affairs Ministry on subsidizing medication costs for Holocaust survivors living in Israel.  Today, there are approximately 95,000 Holocaust survivors who will be eligible. 

4. Pursuant to the 1959 State Service Law (Appointments), and according to the 25.3.10 recommendation of the State Service Committee and the 17.1.10 Cabinet decision, the Cabinet decided to exempt from public tender the position of director of the civil service cadet program. 

5. The Cabinet discussed the issue of strengthening the city of Ashkelon and authorized Health Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to decide on all aspects regarding the construction, renovation and development of units at Barzilai Medical Center. This decision supersedes the 21 March 2010 decision on the issue.

6. National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau, Water Authority Director Uri Shor and Mekorot Director-General Ido Rosolio briefed ministers on the state of the water economy. Prime Minister Netanyahu instructed the National Infrastructures Ministry and the Finance Ministry to reach agreement within 30 days on the construction of a desalination plant. If they cannot, Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Eli Gabai will prepare a draft decision on the issue.