The Cabinet approved a plan to promote military and civic service in the ultra-orthodox sector and approved an NIS 800 million allocation for emergency preparedness.

 Cabinet communique


Israel Cabinet meeting (Reuters archive photo)

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 9 January 2011:
1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:
"Regarding the fire service, we are submitting a comprehensive, NIS 800 million proposal for home front emergency preparedness and disasters. It will provide for both fires and earthquakes. NIS 350 million will be allocated to establishing an upgraded national fire service and an aerial firefighting force. The new fire service will be part of the Public Security Ministry and I have instructed that the aerial firefighting force begin operations within a few months. In the first stage, we will lease planes. In the second stage, we will buy planes. I spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper last Friday regarding possible bilateral arrangements to purchase Canadian planes, which are the best in the world for this kind of mission.
Today, I will submit for Cabinet approval a decision to enable a significant increase in the number of ultra-orthodox young men drafted into the IDF, for national security service and for civic service. This decision will provide for the doubling of the number of ultra-orthodox young men enrolled in national service. We are talking about doubling them within five years and we mean that most ultra-orthodox young men in their draft year will serve in national service within five years. This is a revolution, a significant revolution. It will have repercussions regarding the division of the security and economic burden in the country. It will have very great consequences for the integration of the ultra-orthodox into society and the economy. I would like to commend the IDF, the Defense Ministry and the other ministries that were involved, including the Finance Ministry, as well as National Economic Council Chairman Prof. Eugene Kandel and Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Eyal Gabai, who worked very hard on this change, which I think is a great blessing for the State of Israel.
We will also discuss the electricity sector and various ideas on power generating plants. We will make a decision and we will finish the meeting on time. Thus, I will conclude my remarks with one more comment.
Today, after the Cabinet meeting, I will meet with the members of the Sheshinski Committee and will hear their recommendations. Later in the week, I will meet with the relevant ministers: Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau and Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, as well as with Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer. Afterwards, I will meet with the investors from "Tamar". I will make a decision and will submit my recommendation to the Cabinet within a short time, at one of our upcoming meetings, for their approval. Thus Israel will make a critical decision regarding a natural resource that is important for our future. I will recommend that the Cabinet establish a national fund to utilize the fruits of our gas reserves for several goals, with security and education foremost among them."
2. Pursuant to Article 12 of the 1959 State Service Law and in accordance with the recommendation of Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, the Cabinet appointed Yaakov Ganot as Director-General of the Public Security Ministry.
3. The Cabinet decided to proceed with legislative amendments regarding security establishment preferences for locally-manufactured textile products.
4. The Cabinet today, approved a plan to promote military and civic service in the ultra-orthodox sector so as to double the number of ultra-orthodox young men who enlist in the IDF, national security service and national civic service. According to the plan, the number of draftees will reach 4,800 by 2015 (2,400 for military service and 2,400 for civic service).  It was also agreed that the IDF would create additional combat frameworks in order to absorb the ultra-orthodox. In order to meet this goal, the Government will allocate an additional NIS 130 million in order to create new and unique frameworks for draftees from the ultra-orthodox sector, and NIS 70 million per annum for developing new civic service frameworks. The decision also determines that the age at which ultra-orthodox young men without children may be enrolled in regular civic service, as an alternative to military service, will be 26.
5. The Cabinet approved an NIS 800 million allocation for emergency preparedness. According to the decision, NIS 350 million will be allocated to earthquake preparedness and rehabilitating the Home Front Command’s firefighting abilities. The allocation will also serve for establishing emergency centers in the local council areas, a communications network for emergency bodies and acquiring equipment for the evacuation of 400,000 people. An additional NIS 350 million will be allocated to the Fire Service and for the establishment of an aerial firefighting force.  NIS 100 million will serve as a supplement to be used for these same goals in emergency situations, according to need.

An authority, led by the Director-General of the Public Security Ministry, will be responsible for the establishment of a national fire service by the end of 2012.  The authority will advance legislation regarding a national fire service law by October 2011 and will conduct a dialogue with the firefighters’ unions.