(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Sunday, 25 February 2018), at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting, made the following remarks:
“Over the weekend we learned that President Trump has decided to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, on this coming Independence Day. This is a great moment for the citizens of Israel and this is an historic moment for the State of Israel. We will celebrate it together, all citizens of Israel. This will have significant and historic long-range implications. On behalf of the entire government and people, I would like to thank President Trump for both his leadership and his friendship. President Trump, you are a great friend of the State of Israel and we all thank you.
Today, the Cabinet will approve a budget for the Netiv Ha’avot outline. The residents of Netiv Ha’avot have been waiting for a long time for this. I would like to thank my colleague, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, for the joint work, especially with two people, chief-of-staff Yoav Horowitz and Ronen Peretz from my office, they did outstanding work on both this matter and placing the first homes in the community of Amichai last week – this is a double blessing.
Today the Cabinet will be briefed on the ministries’ working plan for 2018. This work by the ministries is characterized by great budgetary certainty because we passed a biannual budget. The working plan includes very many areas, but here is the main thing I think – our effort to reduce the regulatory burden by 25%. We are adding more and more areas to the preferred regulatory cut and the fight against bureaucracy. This is showing results.
I can tell you that we will continue with the consistent policy that we have followed for many years. It has brought about unprecedented growth in the Israeli economy, in GDP, in an almost unprecedented decline in unemployment that has just about reached the lowest level of all time, and in a constant decline in inequality. It is not just that per capita income is increasing – inequality is declining. Another thing that is not recognized is that relative middle class and lower class wages have risen very impressively.
You have seen the impressive growth in net income in 2009-2016. This is a very, very significant average annual increase that is almost unknown in western countries. There are several countries where the complete opposite is happening, but they all grew. You see that the middle class has grown very impressively. This is a correct policy. And the government ministries, in their working plan that we will present today, are continuing it for the good of the State of Israel and the citizens of Israel.”
The left-wing organizations spearheading the legal battle against the Netiv Ha’avot neighborhood in Gush Etzion have received over 47 million shekels from foreign governments over the past several years, according to a new report released by the Zionist organization Im Tirtzu.
In 2016 the High Court of Justice ruled that 17 structures in Netiv Ha’avot neighborhood, including 15 homes, a carpentry shop and monument for fallen IDF soldiers, were not built on state land and must be demolished by March 6th.
According to the Im Tirtzu report, the legal battle over Netiv Ha’avot began in 2008 when left-wing NGO “Peace Now” filed a petition to the High Court of Justice contesting the neighborhood’s legality.
Multiple petitions against the neighborhood have since been filed by “Peace Now” and “Yesh Din,” including a petition against the relocation of the 15 families to portions of the neighborhood built on state land.
The report states that “Peace Now” and “Yesh Din” have received over 47 million shekels ($13.4 million) from foreign governments and entities, including the European Union, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium, Norway, Holland and Switzerland.
Im Tirtzu contends that this funding is part of an ongoing effort by European governments to undermine the policy of the Israeli government by means of anti-Zionist Israeli NGOs.
“It is inconceivable that European governments operate in Israel’s judicial system by means of radical anti-Israel NGOs, rather than going through the proper diplomatic channels,” said Im Tirtzu Chairman Matan Peleg.
“This European attempt to alter Israel’s internal policy not only harms Israeli sovereignty, but is an affront to the Israeli public who democratically elected its government. This subversive activity and use of lawfare against Israel must end immediately.”
Dozens of activists from the Zionist organization Im Tirtzu held a counter demonstration today at Netiv Ha’avot against left-wing protesters from Peace Now who arrived to call for the destruction of the neighborhood.
According to Im Tirtzu, they arrived to demonstrate against the “subersive” activities of Peace Now and other far-left NGOs who are using funding from European governments to petition the Israeli courts against the neighborhood.
The activists held signs reading “the destruction of Netiv Ha’avot, brought to you by European governments,” and chanted slogans including “You are pawns of Germany, how are you not ashamed?”
“Netiv Ha’avot is the quintessential example of the subversive activities of foreign government-funded NGOs against Jewish building in Judea and Samaria,” said Im Tirtzu Director of Policy Alon Schvartzer.
“Peace Now received over 18 million shekels in recent years from European governments, and the flood of judicial petitions against the neighborhood is the result.”
Schvartzer added: “The future of the State of Israel must be decided upon through internal discussion, and not by the subversive and anti-democratic activities of foreign government-funded NGOs.”