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PM Netanyahu's Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting (7.02.16)
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PM Netanyahu's Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

07 February 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Sunday, 7 February 2016), made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:

"We are marking a year since the passing of our friend the late Uri Orbach. Uri was a wonderful minister who worked to bring Jewish culture and Jewish heritage to all Israelis, and initiated innovative programs for veteran and adult citizens. In all of these he took a proudly national approach, but on the other hand, he was open to all parts of Israeli society. I can say that every time he spoke at a Cabinet meeting, he did so at the end of the discussions and everyone listened. I think that he always had a combination of wit, understanding and a love of Israel. We all grieve over his passing and we all send our condolences to his family. We loved him very much.

We are in a harsh struggle between those who – like us – seek coexistence and peace, and those who seek war and bloodshed. Over the weekend, a synagogue named after the three youths who were kidnapped and murdered by terrorists was set alight. We will do our utmost to find the arsonists and bring them to justice. But I expect from everyone in the country and around the world who rightly condemn every desecration of a mosque or writing of graffiti on mosques, including the burning of mosques, I expect them to come out with the same cry against, and condemnation of, this abhorrent act.

The second act that we have seen in recent days was three Balad MKs going to comfort the families of murderers, people who murdered Israeli citizens. I believe that most citizens of Israel feel that these MKs do not represent them. We are making great efforts and great investments in order to integrate Arab citizens in Israeli society and they are doing the complete opposite. They are building walls of hatred. I try to imagine what would happen in the British Parliament or the US Congress if MPs or members of Congress would stand at silent attention for murderers of British or American citizens. I think that there would be a very major outcry and rightly so.

I spoke with the Attorney General and asked him to consider taking legal action against these MKs. I would like to examine new and reinforced legislative changes to ensure that anyone who acts in this direction – will not serve in the Israeli Knesset. I think this is an important statement as to what kind of society we want. At the same time, I will today, together with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, submit a complaint to the Knesset Ethics Committee. I expect all members of the opposition who are also rightly clamoring for justice in this matter to support these proposals.

Today, the Cabinet will vote on the Public Security Minister's proposal regarding stricter punishment for those employing and sheltering people who are present in Israel illegally. It needs to be understood that many of the terrorist attacks that have occurred within the State of Israel have been perpetrated by people who are present in Israel illegally; therefore, we must make whoever employs them, whoever shelters them, whoever transports them - bear the consequences. This is another important step against the phenomenon of people who are present in Israel illegally. Additional measures will also be taken."