PM Netanyahu's Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting, 30 October
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Sunday, 30 October 2016), at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting, made the following remarks:
"Italy has experienced an earthquake that could be very severe. I would like to tell my friend, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, that Israel is ready and willing to send assistance to the best of our ability. We take care to maintain high readiness for disasters such as occurred at the structure in Tel Aviv and this also serves us in cases of earthquakes. We do not know what the effects of these earthquakes will be, but the State of Israel is prepared and we are ready to help our Italian friends. We also appreciate the strong and clear statement we heard from Italy on many issues that are important to us. The State of Israel welcomes the President of Italy who arrived here yesterday.
In two weeks, President Reuven Rivlin will leave on a visit to India. This is in continuation of the President of India's visit here. In the next three months, I will leave for Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Singapore and Australia. For three of these, if I am not mistaken, it will be the first visit by an Israeli Prime Minister.
Next month the Polish government will be here for a meeting with the government of Israel. Israel's international relations are developing in Asia, Africa, Latin America and in many other places. We are aware that this development stems from the economic and technological strengthening of Israel on the one hand and our security and intelligence capabilities on the other. Both of these facilitate the development and flourishing of our international relations. This is not to say that we will not be challenged in international forums, like we saw in the scandalous UNESCO decisions, and it is likely that this will continue at the UN, but there is no doubt that even in international institutions, even in these scandalous votes, we have seen a change.
I would like to thank the President of Tanzania for taking a stand along with the Croatian representative. In effect, they torpedoed the practical effect of the second UNESCO decision by preventing consensus. This is an additional indication of the major change that is taking place in Israel's global relations, in direct proportion to Israel's strength.
Today we are opening the academic year – this is part of Israel's strengthening. In the previous decade we were in a very severe crisis in higher education. We invested many billions in it with the understanding that this is a basic component, not only in our national life, but also vis-à-vis our national security. I wish the 300,000 students, and the lecturers and researchers, a rich and productive academic year. We will yet invest approximately NIS 1.5 billion in developing higher education in the coming years, for the benefit of both students and, of course, the development of computer sciences and significant improvements in research infrastructures, as part of that same vision of a strong, advanced and technological Israel.
At the same time we will pass a decision – submitted by Social Affairs and Social Services Minister Haim Katz – on the "Yated" program. We will fund it by the order of NIS 100 million in the coming years. The intention is to advance young people at risk, help them to acquire an education and integrate into society. This, of course, is our commitment, that within the new growing and developing Israel, we will include all levels of society, all sectors of the public – including the weakest. Ultimately, society is only as strong as its weakest link."