We have reached an agreement on the issue of conversion that will allow us to try and uphold the unity of the Jewish people.
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 25 July 2010:
1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks regarding the murder in Netanya:
"Yesterday, we were witness to a heinous act, which I am convinced the entire country is in mourning over and is outraged at. I mean the awful murder of three young children – Omer, 10; Ronnie, 8; and Or, 5 – by their father. As the Government, we are called on to do our utmost to prevent such deeds. I know that Social Welfare and Social Services Minister Yitzhak Herzog has established a committee of inquiry including officials from his ministry, as well as mental health, public security and legal officials, in order to do what it can so that the evil that resides in the human heart does not find expression in acts of violence and murder against innocent, defenseless, young children. Minister Herzog, I would like to hear the results of your inquiry as soon as possible. In any case, I am certain that I speak for us all, and for the entire country, when I express our deepest outrage and our solidarity with the family over this awful tragedy."
Prime Minister Netanyahu referred to the children of people in Israel illegally:
"This issue touches on two main areas – humanitarian and Jewish-Zionist. As a child, I remember visiting the home of my father’s friend, Prof. Klausner. Etched over the door of his home were the words: Judaism and humanity. Let us first speak of the humanitarian aspect. There are here young children who study and are growing up in the state of the Jewish People. They study Hebrew. They are educated as Israelis. They are part of us and they are young children. We are looking for a way, first of all, from a humanitarian perspective, to absorb them and receive them into our hearts and homes.
On the other hand, we do not want to create an incentive here for many, many others to come, perhaps hundreds of thousands, illegal migrants, labor migrants. Last week, we acted; we took an important step to strengthen the ground barrier along our border with Egypt, as well as other actions, and we want to preserve the Jewish majority that is the foundation of the country. It is this Jewish and democratic majority that allows us to exist here as a state, a Jewish national state and a democratic state; therefore, the committee that met for over a year dealt with these two matters.
Now the time has come to hear the conclusions and recommendations and make decisions. Today, I hope that we will make balanced, humane and responsible decisions. I have allocated time for discussion and if not this week, then next week we will finish the discussion, including hearing the recommendations, and we will make decisions in this sensitive and important area."
Prime Minister Netanyahu also discussed the issue of conversion [to Judaism] in Israel:
"I am pleased to inform the Cabinet that we have reached an agreement on the issue of conversion that will allow us to try and uphold the unity of the Jewish people. There are different approaches and there are various desires. What we have currently agreed on is to suspend the actions and talk. The suspended actions include, first of all, motions to the High Court of Justice by the Conservative and Reform movements on the issue of conversion. For our part, we are suspending the legislation. Of course, the Knesset is in recess, but there are also months after the recess, until January 1.
Within this time, we will try dialogue, under the aegis of our friend, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, with the various streams, with the Government and with all relevant bodies. We will try to reach an agreement that will move forward on conversion in the State of Israel and maintain the unity of the Jewish people. The unity of the Jewish people is always necessary, but it is especially necessary – more than ever – against the threats the State of Israel and the Jewish people as a whole are now facing."
2. The Cabinet approved the appointments of Reuven Merchav and Prof. Miguel Deutch to serve on the Independent Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of 31 May 2010, chaired by retired [Supreme Court] Justice Jacob Turkel.
3. Pursuant to Article 32 of Basic Law: The Government, the Cabinet decided to accede to a request from the UN and dispatch a group of police personnel to Haiti.
4. The Cabinet continued its discussion of issues regarding entry and migration to Israel.
5. The Cabinet was briefed on, and discussed, the conclusions and recommendations of the inter-ministerial committee on the status of people in Israel illegally and their family members. The Cabinet will continue its discussion at its next meeting.