(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 6 June 2010:
1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed IDF soldiers’ action regarding the "Rachel Corrie":
"I would like to thank the dedicated IDF soldiers, security officials and Government ministries that were involved in preventing the entry of the ship to Gaza. Yesterday, the entire world saw the difference between a humanitarian flotilla and a hate flotilla by violent, terrorism-supporting extremists. In both incidents, Israel used an identical procedure: We proposed that the ships unload their cargo in Ashdod port, where it would undergo a security check to prevent the entry of weapons to Hamas, after which the civilian goods would be delivered to Gaza. To the previous flotilla, we even proposed that its cargo be checked by international organizations in El Arish.
We must not be confused. Regarding yesterday’s ship and five of the six ships in the previous flotilla, this process ended without casualties or untoward incidents. Only on one ship, on which dozens of thugs from a terrorist organization – or, to be more precise, an extremist, terrorism-supporting organization – had prepared in advance, armed with axes, knives and other ‘cold’ weapons were our soldiers compelled to defend themselves against a tangible danger to their lives.
According to the information currently in our possession, this group boarded separately in a different city, organized separately, equipped itself separately and went on deck under different procedures. In effect, they underwent no checks. The clear intent of this hostile group was to initiate a violent clash with IDF soldiers. This truth is gradually spreading around the world. It must be understood that this was not a unique incident. This is a continuous process that enemies of Israel have been orchestrating for years in order to deny Israel’s right to defend itself. It began in 2001, with an attempt to arrest Israeli officers abroad, and continued in 2004 with similar attempts. Then there was the Goldstone report, which was born after Operation Cast Lead. This process continues today with the attempt to prevent Israel from stopping the smuggling of missiles and rockets into Gaza.
I would like to emphasize: We will not allow the establishment of an Iranian port in Gaza. We will not allow the free flow of war materiel and contraband to Hamas. On the other hand, we have no desire to make things difficult for the civilian population in Gaza. We would like for goods that are neither war materiel nor contraband to enter Gaza. Thus we have acted in this case as well. I would like to stress that, as of now, Hamas is preventing the entry of the goods into Gaza and this proves it is not the assistance to the residents of Gaza that is important to Hamas, but provocations.
I would like to take this opportunity to again express support for the IDF soldiers and to wish a rapid recovery to the wounded. They carried out a difficult mission with determination, restraint and responsibility, and they are worthy of all praise."
2. Prime Minister Netanyahu briefed the cabinet on his recent visit to France and Canada:
"In Paris, I met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and discussed the international campaign against Iran and the security arrangements. I also spoke with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon about a series of bilateral issues.
My trip to Paris was designed, of course, for the OECD meeting. We were accepted in a very impressive ceremony. I noted that there was very high appreciation for Israel’s economy, as well as for those of Estonia and Slovenia, with whose leaders I met, and in the details of our policy. These found expression in the meetings, the press conference and in the event itself.
I also met there with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, with whom I also discussed Iran and the security arrangements.
From Europe I traveled to Canada, for an exceptional welcome, first by the Jewish community in Toronto. It is simply hard to describe.
In Canada, we spoke at length on all of the diplomatic issues and bilateral cooperation, including at the meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper that I was compelled to cut short. Canada is a country with considerable capabilities and links with other countries, such as China. Therefore, we are thinking about bilateral – and even tri-lateral and four-sided – initiatives via this connection, one of innovation and technology. We spoke about practical matters in this area.
During my stay in Canada, at least up until my meeting with Prime Minister Harper, I was busy with events at home, regarding the flotilla, and – no less important – with the US decisions vis-a-vis the UN decisions on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. I held many contacts and many discussions with the American administration on this issue."
3. Pursuant to Article 23 of the 1959 State Service Law, the Cabinet approved the appointment of Sar-Shalom Djerbi as Director-General of the National Civilian Service administration in the Science and Technology Ministry.
4. The Cabinet approved draft amendments to the 2010 National Health Insurance Law.
5. The Cabinet approved draft legislation on the absorption of discharged soldiers.
6. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Finance Ministry Director-General Haim Shani, Accountant-General Shuki Oren and Budget Director Udi Nisan briefed the Cabinet on recent developments in the Israeli economy in comparison to global economic developments. Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer and National Economic Council Chairman Prof. Eugene Kandel expressed their views. The Cabinet held a preliminary discussion.