PM Netanyahu's Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting, 26 March
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Sunday, 26 March 2017), at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting, made the following remarks:
"Last Friday I spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May. I sent her condolences, on behalf of the Government and People of Israel, to the families of those who were murdered and, of course, my wishes for a recovery for those who were wounded. I told her that we in Israel have stood against car-ramming and stabbing attacks and we understand that the terrorism that is striking us is the terrorism that is striking London, Brussels, Nice and other places around the world. This is the terrorism of radical Islam that calls for concerted action everywhere in order to defeat it. We will defeat it much quicker if we work together.
I also thanked her for the intention, which was indeed realized, several hours later in the Human Rights Council, such this strange UN agency is called, on changing Britain's vote, and much more importantly, for the important speech by British representatives. What was said there, that if bias against Israel in that body continues, than Britain will consistently oppose all decisions. I think that this is an important sign that we would like to encourage the international community to follow. We think that the time has come to begin changing the distorted attitude toward Israel in international bodies.
Last week I and four ministers made a diplomatic and economic visit to China during which Israeli companies signed deals with Chinese companies. The report that we received from the Economy Ministry Foreign Trade Administration is that approximately 25 Israeli companies signed around $2 billion worth of deals during the visit. The main areas are health, agriculture, water and of course the investment of Chinese capital in Israeli funds.
During the visit, China granted Israel a unique status that it has with no other country in the world as a principal partner in developing innovation. This has a similar – but different – link with one other country, Switzerland, and they took care to emphasize the importance that they ascribe to this link with Israel vis-à-vis technology and innovation.
At my request, the President of China agreed to consider the question of an investment policy specific for Israel. China recently decided to restrict, to completely halt, its external investments for its own reasons – I am talking about the world, not Israel. In light of my request, the President of China said that he was prepared to consider an exception for Israel, meaning that Chinese investments in the high-tech and other sectors would continue.
I must say that we were welcomed there with genuine warmth – and the signs were apparent – also by the Chinese economic sector, which it must be said is guided by the government, and in all my contacts, as well as the ministers', in ceremonies, which are very important to China, that China is very much tightening its links with Israel. These developments are very important both to the Israeli economy and Israel's citizens, and to the strengthening diplomatic status of the State of Israel in the world vis-à-vis the major powers and many other countries.
There have been reports in the media lately regarding apparent agreements in the talks we are holding with the White House on the issue of settlement construction. I would like to make it clear that there is much in these reports that is not true. I will not go into details. Our talks with the White House are continuing; I hope they will conclude quickly.
Over the weekend former minister Avraham Sharir passed away. He served in various governments as Justice Minister and tourism Minister. Members of the Cabinet and I bow our heads in his memory.
I would like to turn to our friend Jacob Nagel, who has been exceptional in filling the role of head of the National Security Council. Nagel, this is your last Cabinet meeting as head of the NSC. I can say with certainty that you have, first of all, for very many years, filled a series of posts in the Israeli security establishment. As a reserve brigadier general, you have many chapters. Some of which are known and some of which are not, regarding the security of Israel and in developing its technological capabilities. For example, you have assisted me in a great many areas and one which I will mention here is your dedicated and successful work in Washington in order to finish the MOU with the US, which is the largest security assistance package that Israel has ever received and that the US has given to any country in its history. This is a very important achievement which, of course, will serve the State of Israel in the coming decade.
I would like to note your seriousness, dedication, professionalism, pleasant manner, genuine concern for Israel's security and the great help you have been to me and – of course – the ministers of the cabinet. I thank you and wish you all the best in the future. Thank you."