1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon addressed the Cabinet:
Prime Minister Netanyahu
"As Economy Minister, I am submitting – along with my friend, the Finance Minister – a proposal that is big news for small businesses, a plan that will make it dramatically easier for anyone who opens a new business, in the first three years. Small businesses are bending under the bureaucratic burden, under a burden of regulations, fees and other restrictions that we impose on them. We are going to free them from most of this burden in order to allow them to grow. Small businesses are a considerable growth engine and we know that this will, of course, lead to greater employment and to our economic development. Therefore, this step is vital and innovative. I think that it is a correct and important economic step.
An additional measure that we will advance today to lower the cost of living, together with Minister Deri, is a proposal to lower transportation prices by 17%, and of course to lower the price of water. This is a social measure of the highest order.
I would like to strongly condemn the attacks and threats against Father Nadaf and other Christian leaders. Israel is perhaps the only country, if not the only country in the Middle East, that is devoted to maintaining the rights of all religions. We also especially safeguard the Christian community, which is being harshly attacked throughout the Middle East. We certainly will not countenance attacks on Christian leaders, or on Christians in general, within the State of Israel.
Lastly, I would like to say a few words about the disgraceful video and everything related to it. I asked that this video be shown to the Cabinet, this is well known. I thought it important to make it clear how much this extremist group, in my view both extremist and fringe, certainly does not represent religious Zionism. Consider the strong, clear and sharp statements by the political leaders and rabbis who disavowed its denial of the state and its undermining of the state and its values. Therefore, to try and link religious Zionism to this group does a very great injustice to a dear public that is loyal to the state, contributes to the state and contributes to the IDF, including to its most outstanding units.
I would like to draw this distinction but I think that something else must be said: The ISA, including all of its branches, is doing very important work here. It is acting according to law, under legal oversight. It is acting in accordance with the government’s policy of fighting terrorism of any kind, and this is what we are doing. We are not prepared to accept terrorism from any quarter.
I would, however, like to point out the difference. Arab terrorism attacks us relentlessly and we are fighting it without restrictions. This terrorism is much greater in magnitude; there is no comparison. Second, there is something else, the government here, and our public, and all bodies and all leaders come out against phenomena of Jewish terrorism. We condemn, they praise. In the Palestinian Authority, public squares and streets are named after them. They pay them salaries. There is a great difference between Israeli society’s and Israeli democracy’s healthy approach, which disavows, condemns and takes action against terrorism, and the Palestinian Authority which, I regret, encourages and incites terrorism. I suggest that these distinctions be maintained even as we fight terrorism and inciters of whatever kind."
Click here for excerpts from Finance Minister Kahlon’s remarks.
2. The Cabinet approved the draft version of legislation on Israel’s joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and authorized the Ministerial Committee on Legislation to approve the final draft to be submitted to the Knesset. .
3. The Cabinet decided to instruct Periphery, Negev and Galilee Development Minister Aryeh Deri and Finance Minister Kahlon to jointly advance amendments to the 1975 VAT Law regarding zero VAT on public transportation, water and electricity for weaker strata.
4. The Cabinet approved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s plan to ease conditions for new businesses.
5. Prime Minister Netanyahu instructed that a committee be formed, chaired by the Deputy National Security Adviser, and with the participation of representatives from the Defense, Finance and Public Security ministries, to consider the number of soldiers serving in the Israel Police and the Prison Service. The Prime Minister also instructed that the shortening of soldiers’ compulsory service be reconsidered. The recommendations are to be submitted to the Cabinet within 30 days.
6. The Cabinet approved draft legislation on soldiers serving in the Israel Police (other than the Border Police).
7. The Cabinet approved draft legislation on soldiers serving in the Prison Service.
8. The Cabinet approved draft legislation on soldiers serving in the framework of government ministries.
9. Pursuant to Articles 21 and 23 of the 1959 State Service Law (Appointments), the Cabinet approved the appointment of Abdallah Gera as Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry Director of Plant Protection Services and Oversight.
10. The Cabinet began to discuss its activity for the economic development of the Arab sector in 2016-2020; it will continue its discussion at a special meeting on Wednesday, 30 December 2016.