Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu steered clear of the police recommending charging him with bribery and fraud in Case 4000 during his public, opening comments at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, choosing instead to eulogize US president George H.W. Bush, and talk about new funds for communities near the Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu said that Bush, who died Friday, will be remembered in Israel forever for his contribution in freeing Soviet Jewry, the airlift of Ethiopian Jews to Israel, his determined defeat of Saddam Hussein, his commitment to Israel’s security, and his efforts to promote Mideast peace which were manifest in the Madrid Conference that he brought about.
Netanyahu called Bush a “great American patriot who successfully and with wisdom steered the US and the world at the end of the Cold War, and who enabled a period of quiet where democracy spread throughout the world.”
Netanyahu said he wanted to send his personal condolences to Bush’s sons, former president George W. Bush, and Jeb, the former governor of Florida.
Regarding funds for communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip, the government approved a NIS 700 million program proposed after a meeting between Netanyahu and representatives of the communities on November 15.
This meeting followed the government’s decision not to expand military activities in Gaza, despite calls from some leading voices in the area for the IDF to take more aggressive action to try to put an end to the riots, rockets and incendiary aerial devices that have been a regular staple of the lives of Israelis in the Gaza periphery communities since Palestinian protests along the Gaza Strip border fence began on March 30.
Netanyahu said that the residents of the South are “standing firm, and we support them.”
He said that the resilience of the people in the communities near the Gaza Strip is an “important component of the national resilience, and the resilience of the residents of the Gaza vicinity helps me and my colleagues in the government and the cabinet make the decisions in the right way at the right time.”
The money will go for the establishment and transfer of factories to the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, and the development of industrial zones there, as well as increased budgets for health, education and welfare services.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said the “courage, heroism and resilience” of the residents near Gaza is worthy of admiration, but cannot be taken as a “given.”
Kahlon said the state has a responsibility and obligation toward the residents of Sderot and the communities near the Gaza Strip, and that the major investment approved by the government over the next two years “underscores that commitment.”
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