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

"We look at this morning’s newspapers and read all kinds of comments and analyses.  First of all, I suggest that we not get carried away – and that we calm down.  What did my friend, Minister Benny Begin, say?  "I was a youth and then I matured."  We know how to deal with these situations – with equanimity, responsibly and seriously.  There was a regrettable incident, that was done in all innocence and was hurtful, and which certainly should not have occurred.  We appointed a team of directors-general to examine the chain of events and to ensure procedures that will prevent such occurrences in the future.  Beyond this, I think we should suffice with the foregoing.

I also asked the ministers to do so at this time.  And I do not think that there is any reason to add any more.  But it is of utmost importance to understand that the State of Israel and the US have common interests and we will act according to the vital interests of the State of Israel.  These interests also obligate us to decide on changing the situation within the country.

We will make three dramatic decisions, some of which – I would say – are breakthroughs.  First, we will close the route by which infiltrators and terrorists enter the country from North Africa, in order to ensure the Jewish and democratic character of the State of Israel.  Today, the Government will decide to build a barrier along the Israel-Sinai border.  To this end, we will allocate NIS 1.35 billion, to be spread over several years, in order to secure the State of Israel’s southern border.

Today, the Government will also decide on a NIS 450 million plan to bring scientists back to the country.  We have the opportunity to bring in scientists and technological personnel due to the State of Israel’s relatively good situation and the relatively less favorable situation elsewhere.  This is an important core of know-how for growth and advancement in Israel.  We are working together with Education Minister, Gideon Saar, Finance Minister, Yuval Steinitz, and Immigrant Absorption Minister, Sofa Landver.  I think that this is a very important plan – to bring Israelis back to the country.

You are familiar with the third item.  Over the past year, we have been working on a reform of the planning committees, of the planning and construction processes: To free Israelis – entrepreneurs and contractors – from the constraints and hindrances of complex, complicated and unnecessary bureaucracy.  This joins, of course, the major reform in the Israel Lands Administration and the spread of highways and railways to the north and south, to the periphery.  All of these things will change the face of the State of Israel and therefore we have a very long and important meeting today.  Thank you; we must begin.  Thank you."