PM: 'We will erect a memorial' for victims of Carmel fire

Netanyahu discusses halt to nationwide local authorities strike, discusses Carmel area rehabilitation, and bids farewell to Meir Dagan.

Cabinet meeting 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Cabinet meeting 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
At the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the 30 day anniversary of the major disaster in the Carmel area pledging that, "within one year, we will erect a memorial to those who perished, a monument to their heroism and their sacrifice."
"We have also recognized four of those who perished, two firefighters, the bus driver and 16-year-old volunteer Elad Riven, as having the same status as IDF fallen."
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He added, "since then we have been busy with the very quick and efficient rehabilitation of the Carmel area."
In the weekly meeting, the cabinet approved NIS 15 million to rehabilitate and upgrade the infrastructure damaged by the Carmel fire. Water, sewage, electricity, roads, playgrounds and more in Ein Hud, Ein Hod, Yemin Orde, Nir Etzion, and Beit Oren will be upgraded to restore services as quickly as possible to the damaged area.
Next week, Netanyahu will present a memorandum about a government decision to create a national firefighting authority, purchase firefighting planes and deal with preparing buildings to withstand earthquakes, he told the cabinet.
He applauded the deal reached to halt the strike of nationwide local authorities saying, "We had a long night and I am pleased that we succeeded.  There was a meeting here in my office with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Interior Minister Eli Yishai and the mayors. 
"I would like to congratulate everyone for acting responsibly.  We reached an agreement.  I think that it is a good agreement."
He explained in greater detail the agreement reached, "it increases the balancing grants for the local councils that have been suffering from this very much.  It was also decided to establish a committee to deal with the issue of the water corporations; it will allow us to prevent suffering by many Israelis – families, children and parents."
Netanyahu further discussed the upcoming 30 day anniversary of the major disaster in the Carmel area.
The prime minister also announced at the cabinet meeting a NIS 184 million assistance program to help Sderot residents.
The move aims to strengthen the local economy and local administration, and to promote social support.
Netanyahu said that, "Our policy is to protect our citizens from terrorism, rocket fire and all kinds of other hostile activity against our territory from the Gaza Strip. We will continue to aid the residents of the area. Hamas and the other terrorist organizations should know that while we are not looking for escalation, neither do we fear it. Those who want to try us, will discover our full determination and will bear the consequences."
The prime minister concluded his remarks at the cabinet meeting by bidding farewell to outgoing Mossad Director Meir Dagan expressing his thanks, "I have thought how I could thank you for your contributions, your great and considerable contributions, to the security of Israel, in all of these roles.
"I cannot tell about all of your actions but I can tell ministers about a conversation we had in the Mossad offices, approximately one year ago. 
I sat in your office and I saw on the wall the picture of an elderly religious Jew, on his knees before Nazi thugs.  This picture caught my eye and I asked you about it.  You said that that was your grandfather.  I asked you what happened to him.  You told me: They murdered him. 
Then I said, Meir, I understand you; now I understand you.  I understand your deep commitment to ensure that nobody could ever again be able to implement the threat of annihilating the Jewish People.  This is both a personal and national order and you acted in accordance with it.
"As Prime Minister, I would like to thank you on behalf of the Government and citizens of Israel, and on behalf of the Jewish People, for all of the great things that you have done for us, for the security of Israel.  Meir, thank you very much," he concluded.