Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:
"The government supports settlement at any time, especially now when it is under terrorist assault and is taking a courageous and determined stand in the face of terrorist attacks. With the same breath, we are a nation of law and we must respect the law. As soon as the procedures regarding the purchase are approved, we will allow the two homes in Hebron to be populated, as indeed occurred in similar instances in the past. The process of checking is starting today; we will do it as quickly as possible. If, in any case, it is not completed within a week, I will see to it that the Cabinet receives a status report.
Today, the Cabinet will approve the reduction of water prices. This is another important step in a series of decisions that my government – along with the ministers – is approving. We are working to reduce the cost of living. Here I must say that it was our friend Aryeh Deri who led this very important move. It expresses our sincere desire to make things easier for citizens and to simultaneously ensure the continued growth of the economy; we are doing both.
I would like to thank US President Obama for deciding to attend the International Holocaust Remembrance Day event at the Israeli embassy. The US President has not been at the Israeli embassy for many years. This is further testimony that the relationship between the US and Israel are – despite disagreements that arise from time-to-time – very strong and steadfast. Over the past two years, and in recent years, we have heard remarks about the collapse of relations.
What has collapsed is the talk about a collapse and what is becoming increasingly clear is that this special relationship finds expression in very many areas. One of these, of course, is the memorandum that we are trying to formulate, and will conclude I hope in the coming months, with the US on a package of security assistance for Israel over the coming decade.
This relationship also finds expression in the talks I had at Davos with Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Kerry. Everyone understands that in the end, in the whirlpool in the Middle East, with the rise of radical Islamic forces, Israel is the US’s strongest, and most loyal and stable, ally in the region. This also finds expression in the shared values and common interests that we are advancing.
In Davos I also met with many other leaders. I met with Argentine President Mauricio Macri, who told me unequivocally: ‘We are turning a new leaf with Israel. Our interests and our values make this partnership necessary. Therefore, we are beginning a new era.’
I also met with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, a very strong African country that would like to enhance relations with us. Of course, I also met with many friends such as the leader of Azerbaijan and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, a close friend of Israel, and many other leaders, including the heads of major global corporations.
I was at a cyber forum along with the leaders of global cyber companies and companies that are dealing with the cyber problem. They asked me, as the Prime Minister of Israel, to describe what we are doing and there is great desire to learn from us and cooperate with us in this field, in all scientific fields, and – of course – in the fight against terrorism. This is the complete opposite of what is described in our media, another angle, one of negative trends against us in international organizations. But between countries, between countries and companies, to the largest companies in the world Israel is a commodity in demand. They want everything we can offer, both in security and in many other areas.
One of these areas is spread before you – the fruits of Israeli agriculture, as reflected in the innovations of the Volcani Institute. Tu B’Shvat is upon us. It is the holiday of fruits and vegetables and of all living creatures; it is the holiday of agriculture. Israeli agriculture is really, I would say, at the leading edge of world agricultural innovations. I believe that we can further use this in our relationship with African, Asian and Latin American countries – they all actually request this.
I spoke with several countries, in Davos as well, including the head of the World Bank, who would like to advance our partnerships with other countries. Our ability to position ourselves around the world, to be a strong country depends, first on our military capabilities, but also on our ability to form alliances based on common interests in agriculture, technology, and many other areas. We are constantly evolving, and this is bearing fruits, as you can see here.
Have a pleasant holiday."