At the weekly Cabinet meeting today:
1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:
"Israel will continue to act as necessary to uncover and counter the threat of tunnels in the south. We will spare no resources and means in providing security to the residents of the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip. In the past two years, these communities have flourished amidst a considerable increase in the number of residents. We are working to continue this trend. We are not seeking escalation, but we will not be deterred from doing whatever is necessary to maintain security.
Today the Cabinet will approve benefits for reservists – municipal tax discounts, increased scholarships, an extension of the period of eligibility for assistance from the fund for discharged soldiers and exemptions from several fees. Our position is that those who bear the heavy burden, reserve soldiers, at the expense of their families and places of work, deserve more. We are committed to act on behalf of those who contribute more toward security. This has been the government line for years, both this government and its predecessor.
Today and tomorrow we are marking VE Day. We are grateful to those who fought the Nazis, including hundreds of thousands of Jews who served in the Allied armies. Some of them are here with us today, the veterans and others. We salute them.
This Cabinet meeting is taking place between Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day and Independence Day. The State of Israel is a marvel of history and we are all proud of its achievements and of the IDF. Many things have been said recently about the State of Israel. There is no country that does not have displays of intolerance and violence, but Israeli democracy is strong. It condemns these displays and it deals with them according to the law and by other means. The comparison that was made in IDF Deputy Chief-of-Staff Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan’s remarks about processes that characterized Nazi Germany 80 years ago is infuriating. The remarks are fundamentally incorrect. They should not have been made at any time much less now. They do injustice to Israeli society and cause a belittling of the Holocaust. The Deputy Chief-of-Staff is an outstanding officer, but his remarks on this issue were utterly mistaken and unacceptable to me."
2. Pursuant to Article 22 of the 1996 Electricity Law, in accordance with the recommendation of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz, and in consultation with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, the Cabinet decided to appoint Asaf Eilat to a five-year term as head of the Electricity Authority.
3. Pursuant to Article 12 of the 1959 State Service Law (Appointments), the Cabinet decided to appoint Hagai Tzuriel as Director General of the Intelligence Ministry.
4. The Cabinet discussed and approved measures regarding the participation of the State of Israel in Expo 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan.
5. The Cabinet discussed the upcoming 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Russia. Against the background of the strategic and historic importance of relations with Russia, the Cabinet decided to mark 2016, the year of the 25th anniversary, as follows:
During 2016, a series of events will be held in both countries to mark the unique, historic, important and central nature of these relations for both countries and both peoples.
Joint Israeli-Russia activities will be initiated to mark the occasion including in the fields of public diplomacy, science and technology, culture, tourism and commerce, with emphasis on encouraging people-to-people contacts.
Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Netanyahu will be responsible for leading the project.
.Appropriate budgetary allocations will be made
6. The Cabinet discussed and approved measures regarding increasing the variety of communities and ethnic groups in government publications.
7. Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon briefed ministers on the work of the ministerial committee on the IDF reserves.
8. The Cabinet discussed and approved increased benefits for IDF reservists.