PM Netanyahu's Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting, 20 November
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Sunday, 20 November 2016), at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting, made the following remarks:
"At the start of the Cabinet meeting, I would like to congratulate you, Tzachi Braverman, on taking office as Cabinet Secretary. I am certain that you will contribute from your many talents, from your experience, to the work of ministers and the Cabinet as a whole. I cannot but congratulate you with the traditional greeting to whoever takes upon his shoulders a public position – my congratulations and condolences on this morning, mainly my congratulations. Good luck.
As Prime Minister of Israel, I dedicate the best of my time to ensuring the security of Israel. The principle that guides me is clear – Israel will be able to defend itself by itself against any enemy, in any field. The security of Israel requires the acquisition of submarines and the renewal of the submarine fleet. These are strategic weapons systems that ensure the future, and I tell you, the very existence of the State of Israel for decades to come. Increasing the security and strength of the State of Israel is the only consideration that guided me in acquiring the submarines. This has been the only consideration that has ever guided me and there is nothing without it.
Yesterday was the 39th anniversary of President Anwar Sadat's historic visit to Jerusalem. A peace agreement was achieved between Israel and Egypt through direct negotiations; this agreement has stood for almost 40 years, currently under the courageous leadership of Egyptian President al-Sisi. I note this because here one can see the contrast with what is occurring vis-à-vis the Palestinians. Abu Mazen refuses to come to direct negotiations without preconditions, is also continuing to incite his people regarding the idea of a right of return and erasing the State of Israel, and, to my regret, is not taking the right steps to start calming things and preparing public opinion for reconciliation with the State of Israel, which we see among certain Arab countries, the buds of a start here, and I hope this will change.
Even more so, we have received some encouraging data over the weekend, the growth figures from last quarter, and I congratulated you, Finance Minister, on our joint work. Minister, you also have a birthday, and we all share in your joy. I want to note a special part of it, because today, later, there is a conference encouraging business in the Haredi sector. I want to tell you how important this is to me. Our economy is unique and exceptional in the Western world, and we need to ensure that it will continue to be so. It requires participation in the labor market of the two communities. I wanted to say the in the Arab and in the ultra-Orthodox sector, but this is not true: Arab women and ultra-orthodox men. Because ultra-orthodox women and Arab men have been participating in the labor market at same level as the rest of the population, which is a very high level, so that is why we have special efforts to recruit ultra-orthodox men who are now holding by a 50% participation rate compared to 80% in the rest of population, and Arab women that are 32% vs. 80% for the rest of the population. We want to encourage these populations to enter the labor market to benefit the entire population of Israel, this is the policy of our government, it will be reflected in the budget various reforms that the Finance Minister is promoting. I thank you; thank you."