"Ouda Tarabin was released last week and returned to Israel after 15 years in an Egyptian prison. I worked with three Egyptian presidents – Mubarak, Morsi and el-Sisi – to request his release.
I gave my word that he was not a spy for Israel. Approximately one-and-a-half years ago I sent my representative, attorney Yitzhak Molcho, to Egypt in order to ensure that he would indeed be released on the scheduled day.
At the same time, Israel will release six Egyptian prisoners: Three who have completed their sentences and three who are not connected to security offenses, of course, without blood on their hands. I am happy that Ouda is back with us again. The State of Israel takes care of all its citizens without exception.
The climate agreement that was signed last night in Paris is an important agreement. Like the other countries, we have an interest in ensuring that global warming, if it will not be halted, will at least be slowed down – and Israel will do its part. Israel is a leader in wastewater purification technologies, recycling, water desalination and we have, as you already know, a national plan for alternatives to oil, a plan for alternatives to oil in transportation, and it is a global pioneer on this issue. We will reduce greenhouse gas emissions on behalf of future generations. This is a complex international mission.
It is built on the premise that large and small countries alike will not deviate from it. This demands international discipline, which is not easy, but for the good of humanity, I hope that it will be found. It will certainly be found in the State of Israel.
After having dealt with conscript soldiers, today we will take care of the elderly. In our society the elderly are not a negligible component of the poverty picture, and what we will do will help reduce poverty. I remind you that the level of inequality has decreased regularly in recent years, with the exception of last year.
I hope that this step will continue the trend of reducing social inequality and caring for weaker sectors. We are investing over NIS 500 million in increasing support payments for the elderly. There are approximately 230,000 such people. Couples will receive up to NIS 6,000 per annum. This will begin next month. The move was arranged by the Finance Minister and I as part of the coalition agreement between Kulanu and the Likud and this will remove more elderly from the cycle of poverty.
Today we also will approve a first step toward encouraging the integration of adults over the age of 60 into the workforce, in the civil service and in the economy as a whole. This improves the worker’s quality of life and his pension savings. We will continue to remove barriers to the employment of older workers. Population aging is a long-term global trend that, of course, is a great blessing, but it also poses challenges; for the labor market, the health system and in additional areas.
I would like to congratulate Minister Gila Gamliel on her important work in this area, in dealing with the problem that stands before us. I would like to say in this regard, as I have said regarding previous issues: This is a government that does. While there are those who talk – we do. I tell ministers: ‘Talk about what we do.’"