Following are excerpts from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting today:

I would like to express shock over the murder of seven-year-old Leon Kalantarov and eight-month-old Fruma Anshin.  Today, we will establish a ministerial committee chaired by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, and including Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Social Welfare and Social Services Minister Yitzhak Herzog, to examine what steps the Government must take – in addition to those already in place – in order to assure the security of our children from such horrors.

Today the Cabinet will also discuss strengthening the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip.  This area has suffered severely in the past decade from terrorist attacks and rocket and missile fire.  Our policy is clear to all and I think it also became clear over the weekend – to respond resolutely to any firing at our territory and at our communities.  There is no doubt that this policy, in addition to Operation Cast Lead, has increased deterrence against attack on our communities.  But we believe that we cannot suffice thereby.  Therefore, the Prime Minister’s Office, along with the Finance Ministry, has formulated a Government package for investment in infrastructures and development in order to help the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip, especially Sderot, in which most of the population is concentrated, but there are other communities that have suffered, and some of which are still suffering.  This NIS 300 million plan will meet their needs.  I think that this is a welcome and important step that the Government is taking."

Prime Minister Netanyahu also commented on the need to promote respect for, and study of, the Hebrew language and commended a plan to this effect by Education Minister Gideon Saar.  The Prime Minister also spoke in favor of declaring the birthday of Eliezer Ben-Yehudah as a national day for the Hebrew language.