Photo by GPO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:
"I would like to wish the entire People of Israel a Happy Chanukah. Tonight we light the first candle of Chanukah. While Chanukah is also a holiday for family gatherings, it is, first and foremost, a holiday of Jewish heroism, the heroism of a small, determined people that restored its independence and its sovereignty, which spread light and banished darkness; to a large extent it is the story of the State of Israel today.
Indeed we are a small, but very determined, people that brings progress and fights darkness, and very many countries around the world appreciate this today. While we are helping them with knowledge, technology, security and cyber, we – first and foremost – defend ourselves and as in the days of the Maccabees, we have restored our independence and our defensive abilities.
Therefore, at this time, on the eve of Chanukah, there is no more appropriate time to submit the initiative of raising the salary of conscript soldiers. In the end, we live on our defensive capabilities, which IDF soldiers provide, and I am pleased that there is agreement – between the Finance Minister, the Defense Minister and the Prime Minister. I assume, and I am certain, that all ministers will join in raising the salary of IDF soldiers; it is necessary, right and correct, and there is no better gift for the eve of Chanukah."
Prime Minister Netanyahu added:
"I would like to make it clear – Israel will not be a binational state. But in order for there to be peace, the other side needs to decide that it also wants peace. To my regret, this is not what we see. First of all, the Palestinian Authority incitement is continuing – it must stop. And I see the senior Palestinian official in charge of the negotiations going to console the family of a terrorist who tried to murder Jews. Not only does he not condemn it, he goes to offer condolences and thereby gives backing and encouragement to acts of terrorism.
Whoever wants peace needs to condemn these things unequivocally, just as I am doing here, and I also condemn the Swedish Foreign Minister’s scandalous remarks. Apparently she expects Israelis to offer their necks to whoever wants to stab them. This will not happen and we will continue to defend the lives of Israel’s citizens.
Yossi Sarid sat around this table and also around Knesset tables for many years. His was a unique voice in Israeli politics. He expressed it sharply, bluntly and I must say, in exemplary Hebrew. I agreed with him on almost nothing, but I very much appreciated his path and the way in which he expressed himself, frequently out of a deep knowledge of Israel’s heritage and our language. I am certain that all members of the government, despite the varied views around the government table, express a deep appreciation for Yossi Sarid."