Gov't grants J'lem special status

In weekly cabinet meeting, PM marks Red Army Victory Day.

Barkat press conference 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Barkat press conference 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Jerusalem was granted significant benefits by the cabinet in its Sunday morning meeting, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu emphasizing the capital's importance.
Jerusalem was granted Development Area A status. Regions with this status receive benefits from the government that encourage companies to invest in factories in order to strengthen the local industry and economy.
Netanyahu said in the meeting that the government would focus on technological development and conserving historical sites in the capital.
"We will today grant preference Area A status to enterprises in Jerusalem that have been approved by the Capital Investment Encouragement Law. This attests to our commitment to try to create employment here that befits the 21st Century, and to maintain and bring in economically strong populations in order to strengthen our city and ensure its future," the prime minister said. "In addition, we are protecting its distant and recent past, and we will allocate resources to conserving historical sites."
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Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat participated in the cabinet meeting, and emphasized the importance of strengthening Jerusalem as Israel's capital and developing its economy, in order to turn it into a leading city in economics, culture, industry and education.
"This is a fateful hour," Barkat said. "The municipality and the government should work together to strengthen Jerusalem. The cabinet's decision, along with the municipality's actions, strengthen the city's economy, help develop industry and high-tech and promote tourism and culture."
Barkat also pointed out that in the last year, the number of new businesses in the city rose by 30 percent.
Netanyahu celebrates triumph over Nazis
Netanyahu also made special mention of the Victory Day celebrations, the day after President Shimon Peres left for a state visit to Russia and the parades commemorating the 65th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany.
"Today marks the 65th anniversary of the victory over the Nazis," he said. "500,000 Jews were part of the Red Army, in partisan units and in the underground. They fought with supreme heroism, commanded units and many fell, alongside – of course – the millions of non-Jews who also fought with heroism"  
"We salute the veterans, almost 10,000 of whom live in Israel. We bow our heads in deep appreciation of your sacrifice. The fact is that in this struggle, you saved humanity and the remnant of the Jewish People," Netanyahu explained.
The prime minister said the government was marking the day in two ways.
Netanyahu mentioned an agreement with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to build a memorial site to fallen soldiers of the Red Army.
The prime minister also said that Israel makes sure to take care of World War II veterans, as well as Holocaust survivors, and wished those attending the cabinet meeting "Happy Victory Day" in Hebrew and Russian.