Yuval Steinitz 370.
(photo credit: Hadas Parush)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did the correct and rational thing by
apologizing to Turkey last week over the Mavi Marmara affair, International
Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud Beytenu) said Friday evening in an
interview with Channel 2. He added that in his opinion Israel should have
apologized three years ago.
He noted that while the issue was important
to the US, but Israel was the one that had the initiative for the
“We took into account that [Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip]
Erdogan would try to portray it as a victory,” he said.
however, said the the affair was not a matter of justice, but that relations
with Turkey are important and reconciliation between the two countries will
allow renewed discussion about the Syria crisis.
He also said that the
move would allow for putting an end to legal claims against IDF soldiers
involved in the 2010 raid of the ship, attempting to break Israel’s blockade of
Gaza, that led to the death of nine Turks.
“We put the ball in their
court... we did what we needed to do,” he opined, explaining that Netanyahu had
decided to take advantage of US President Barack Obama’s visit to the region to
put an end to the affair.
Turning to the issue of the state budget, the
former finance minister said his replacement, Yair Lapid, is conveying the right
overall message, namely that the situation regarding the budget is
“He is doing the right thing; he is preparing the public for
tough cuts. There will always be cuts, but this time it will be particularly
difficult,” Steinitz said.
He pointed to recommendations made by the
Trajtenberg Committee on Socioeconomic Change – established as a response to the
social justice movement – as a major cause of necessary budget cuts, saying that
they cost NIS 10 billion.
“Now we need to fund those recommendations,” he
Steinitz, however, was keen to emphasize that, relative to the
economic situation in the rest of the world, Israel’s economy is in good shape.