(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting on Monday, 20 April 2009:
1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:
"This evening, the State of Israel marks Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day. Six million of our brethren were massacred during the Holocaust. Sadly, not everyone learned the lesson. While we gather to honor their memory, in Switzerland there will assemble a conference allegedly aimed against racism. Its guest of honor is a racist Holocaust denier who does not hide his intentions to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. I commend the countries that are boycotting this show of hatred. As opposed to those dark days, today a strong Jewish state stands to ensure the continued existence of the Jewish people in the face of this new antisemitism.
We do not forget the survivors. In a joint proposal with my colleagues, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Social Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog, we have decided to allocate NIS 20 million from the basket of services intended for Holocaust survivors and NIS 10 million in additional funds from the Company for Restitution of Holocaust Victims Assets - NIS 30 million which we want to earmark to subsidize medicines for survivors. I am glad that we have found a solution for this vital need of Holocaust survivors who live among us. It is suitable that they should live out their lives in honor and in health.
In the final reckoning, the State of Israel is the answer and the key to ensuring the existence of the Jewish People, to ensuring its security as well as its welfare and the welfare of the survivors.
My Government will check the dangers to the security of the state even as we move forward in a responsible and realistic diplomatic process."
2. Regarding reports in the media, Prime Minister Netanyahu said:
"We are currently formulating security-diplomatic policy. This process will conclude ahead of my trip to Washington in four weeks. In the framework of these deliberations, we will hold Cabinet and Government discussions. I would like to set one thing straight in advance simply because it was reported incorrectly in the media today. We insist that the Palestinians – in any diplomatic settlement with us – recognize the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people. The entire international community demands that we recognize the principle of two states for two peoples, and we are discovering that this is two states not for two peoples but two states for one people, or two states for a people-and-a-half. That is to say, there is no doubt that we are being asked to recognize the Palestinian state as the national state for the Palestinian people, but there is doubt - and not just doubt; it is clear that the Palestinians have no intention of recognizing the national state of the Jewish People. Of course, this is completely unacceptable.
I will not now respond to the question of what the nature and components of the settlement will be and what authority the Palestinians will have. We reiterate that we have no intention of ruling over the Palestinians. We want them to have self-rule , excluding areas of authority that could threaten our security and our existence. But we insist that they recognize the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish People.
We have never conditioned the beginning of talks on advance agreement about this, but neither can we see progress on a future settlement without their agreement to this condition. Therefore, not only have we not backtracked from this position but we stand behind it strongly, and I think that in this regard, we reflect a very broad consensus, not only around this table but among the entire nation, a great part of the nation, and rightly so."
3. GOC Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yedlin briefed ministers on various security issues.
4. Pursuant to Article 31(a)-(c) of Basic Law: The Government, the Cabinet decided to divide the Science, Culture and Sports Ministry. Scientific and technological matters will be the responsibility of the Ministry of Science and Technology, while cultural affairs and sports will be the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture and Sports. Minister Limor Livnat will be Culture and Sports Minister; Minister Daniel Hershkovitz will be Science and Technology Minister.
5. The Government decided which ministers will serve on the Ministerial Committee for Immigration and Absorption Affairs, the Ministerial Committee for Symbols and Ceremonies, the Ministerial Committee on Earthquake Preparedness, the Ministerial Committee on the Non-Jewish Sector and the Ministerial Committee on the Struggle against Violence.