(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday, 5 January 2014):
1. Prime Minister Netanyahu and Intelligence Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz made the following remarks:
Prime Minister Netanyahu: "I would like to briefly summarize 2013 in several respects.
First, security. In 2013, according to official data, there was the lowest number of terrorist attacks in a decade. This is not coincidental. It is the product of a very clear policy of responsive and preventive action, a quick response and continuous preventive action against those who seek to do us harm.
The second item is a ten-year-low in unemployment. According to the latest report, unemployment in 2013 reached 5.5%. This was in continuation of the economic policy that we led over the past four years prior to this government's year [in office] and it is most welcome.
When I took up office as Prime Minister the second time, it seems to me that unemployment was close to 10% according to the current method of calculation. That is, every year we have been in decline. We have, of course, a major task in continuing both growth and the decline in unemployment. These are most basic economic items which show how exceptional Israel is, not just in the Middle East, North Africa and the area to our south, but also, I must say, in comparison with the economies of Europe, the most developed economies. This is the second item.
The third item, in addition to security and the economy, in 2013 we saw a complete halt to the phenomenon of illegal migration into Israel and, at the same time, a six-fold increase in the number of illegal migrants who left Israel, over 2,600. I would like to emphasize that these are not refugees, but people who are breaking the law and whom we will deal with to the fullest extent of the law.
I would like to commend Interior Minister Gideon Saar and those who work with him, including the people of my ministry. This is a complex matter with legal, criminal, taxation and international aspects. But this action, as we promised, is being carried out and it will continue. We will continue to deport the illegal migrants from our cities.
At today's meeting, we will discuss the periodic index of incitement in the Palestinian Authority. Minister Yuval Steinitz will present this issue. To my regret, this incitement is continuing. We have seen examples in recent days. Opposition – total denial – to recognizing the Jewish state and our right to be here is continuing.
Everything that we see stems from this noxious root. There are also many other issues but this is the basic problem that we are dealing with in our serious, comprehensive and pointed talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry
, in which this issue and other core issues have come up, especially the security of Israel, which must remain in Israel's hands, so that we will be able to defend ourselves by ourselves against any threat in our land. Not for one moment do we deny this; this is our land. We are not foreigners in Jerusalem, Beit El or Hebron. We know what we want to achieve but this achievement cannot erase the rights of the State of Israel, the rights of the Jewish people, and the basic right to a Jewish national state. I reiterate that in my view, this is the root of both the conflict and the incitement, the non-recognition of this basic fact.
In any event, these discussions will continue. US Secretary of State Kerry will return here, according to his plans, next week and we will insist on the matters that are vital to ensuring our future here.
At the end of the month, I will travel to Davos
. While I think that it is important to present there the achievements of the Israeli economy, beyond the presentation of our achievements to date, the goal must be to advance links that will lead to the cultivation of growth engines for the future. There are four such growth engines.
The first is the development of new markets, especially – but not only – China. There are many new economies that are interested in Israeli products, investment, trade and technology.
The second is technology itself, to bring people here, first and foremost, the cyber and the 'Negev revolution' that is happening before our eyes. But we also want to see a biotechnology revolution in the Galilee, of course in the spread of cyber systems, rapid fibers, in the State of Israel, and of course the changes we want to make in education.
The third is the physical infrastructures, not just rapid fibers, but highways, railways and the great possibilities of international trade that accompany the infrastructure development that we are doing, whether it is ports, the link between Eilat and Ashdod; these are things that create global growth engines.
The fourth item, which we have been discussing a lot, is integrating the Arab and ultra-orthodox populations in the labor market. This is another major growth engine.
I intend to raise all of these and other items, at this meeting with national and global economic leaders in Davos."
Intelligence Minister Steinitz: "Mr. Prime Minister, we will now present the incitement index. This is an annual index which has been prepared by the Intelligence Ministry since 2009.
I would like to point out generally that these are not sporadic examples but a complete system for the destruction of the State of Israel and the denial of its existence as a Jewish state. These are the main messages: Denying the existence of Israel as a Jewish state; denying the existence of the Jewish people; denying the existence of the Jewish people as a people with rights and the direct and indirect promotion of killing Jews and expelling them from the Land of Israel. This is a comprehensive system, in all aspects of education, in all ages, in the Palestinian Authority.
I am compelled to point this out but we never lose hope of securing peace. On the other hand, we must not bury our heads in the sand like ostriches. Peace is not just a piece of paper. This is supposed to be a true peace; therefore, these things are important. We still do not have the final numbers for the last quarter of 2013; we will have them within two weeks. However, I can say it appears that not only did incitement not stop in 2013, the last quarter saw an increase in the quantity of incitement in general and the explicit call for violence and terrorism against Israel and Israeli citizens in particular.
This will be presented after the Cabinet meeting."
Prime Minister Netanyahu: "Thank you. I must say that this issue has come up in our talks with the Americans and one means – inter alia – that any agreement needs to be spread out over a long time and must, first of all, require and also facilitate a change in this culture of incitement.
It must allow time in which we will see if there is a change, whether for the worse or the better, and in keeping with this also evaluate other parameters of upholding the agreement. This is certainly an important component; therefore, I think that it is important to raise it here as well. We do so periodically but in this case it fits in with an important need to define the structure of peace and the path to peace so that there will be a true peace. Thank you."
2. The Cabinet discussed incitement and the culture of hatred in the Palestinian Authority, specifically the Palestinian Authority Incitement Index as presented by Intelligence Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz and the Director General of his ministry, Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Yossi Kuperwasser.
The annual Palestinian Incitement Index includes new findings from recent months in which the diplomatic negotiations have been conducted. The findings show that incitement against Israel and the Jewish people is continuing on official media channels including – inter alia – by bodies that are very close to the Palestinian Authority Chairman and in educational and religious networks. The findings also show that during the period of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians not only did incitement not lessen, in certain areas it even increased, and that recently, the use of prominent Nazi elements – such as the image of Hitler – has also increased.
From the data, it is clear that incitement activity is concentrated in communicating several main messages:
- Israel has no right to exist, certainly not as the state of the Jewish people, which, in any case, have no link to the holy Land.
- The disappearance of Israel is unavoidable and is expected soon.
- The Jews are sub-human creatures and must be dealt with accordingly.
- In principle, all forms of struggle, including terrorism, are legitimate in order to realize the final goal.
3. The Cabinet approved the updated health services basket for 2014.
4. The Cabinet approved the transfer of responsibility for organizing the status of Bedouin communities in Negev, and for their socio-economic development, from the Prime Minister's Office to the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry. Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Yair Shamir and the Director General of his ministry, Rami Cohen, will be responsible for dealing with the issue.
5. The Cabinet appointed a team to evaluate and implement the second report of the Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of 31 May 2010
and present its recommendations to Prime Minister Netanyahu within nine months.
6. The Cabinet rejected Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan's appeal against the plan approved by the Ministerial Interior, Services and Local Government Committee regarding the route for the Be'er Sheva-Eilat railway.