PM Netanyahu's Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting
Briefing Room
יום ראשון ד' אייר תשע"ד
Photo by GPO   

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Sunday, 4 May 2014), made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:

"The State of Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. Our basic laws give full expression to the democratic side of the state. We do this by providing full equal rights to every citizen in Israel. The basic laws do this via two main laws – Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty and Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation .

On the other hand, that the State of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish People is not sufficiently expressed in our basic laws, and this is what the draft basic law is meant to provide. It will define the national right of the Jewish People over the State of Israel, without infringing on the individual rights of any Israeli citizen in the State of Israel. It will reinforce the status of the Law of Return  as a basic law. It will anchor in a basic law the status of the national symbols – flag, anthem, language and other aspects of our national experience. These aspects are under a constant and increasing assault from abroad and at home. But the foundation of the existence of the State of Israel stems from its being the national home of the Jewish People and from the Jewish People's deep links to the Land of Israel.

Of course, there are those who do not want the State of Israel to be defined as the nation-state of the Jewish People. They want a Palestinian nation-state to be established alongside us and that Israel should gradually become a binational, Arab-Jewish state inside shrunken borders. But I simply say that one cannot hold the national stick at both of its national ends. They cannot say that they want to separate from the Palestinians in order to prevent a binational state, which has a certain logic, and also sanctify a binational, Jewish-Arab state within the permanent borders of the State of Israel.

The State of Israel provides full equal rights, individual rights, to all its citizens, but it is the nation-state of one people only – the Jewish People – and of no other people. And therefore, in order to bolster the status of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish People, I intend to submit a basic law that will anchor this status. The new law will be formulated in dialogue with all components of the coalition so that the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state are preserved.

I would like to make it clear that this is not a political matter. When the opposition, during the previous government's term, proposed a draft law on this issue, I announced immediately that I would support it. And today, on the eve of Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel's Wars, I would like to cite 'The Silver Platter' by Natan Alterman , which was originally published in the newspaper Davar in 1947: 'We are the silver platter on which the Jewish State has been given you.' This is clear; the time has come for us to legislate it.

This week we mark 38 years since the passing of Lt.-Gen. David 'Dado' Elazar (<>), the ninth Chief-of-Staff of the IDF. Dado contributed to the security of Israel throughout his entire life. He did so in the Palmach, the Harel Brigade, the Negev Brigade, during the 1956 war, as GOC Northern Command during the Six Day War and – of course – as Chief-of-Staff during the Yom Kippur War, which ended in victory for the IDF. I must say that as Chief-of-Staff and as GOC Operations, he took an active leadership role in the war against the terrorist organizations. I remember him during the Sabena operation and others will remember him for Operation Spring of Youth and many others. I know that very many people in the State of Israel who served under him and appreciated him feel that there is a need to do justice for the memory of one of the State of Israel's bravest and most dedicated commanders. May his memory be blessed.

Today we will discuss the reform of the Israel Broadcasting Authority which has been submitted by Communications Minister Gilad Erdan. This reform is being submitted after a dozen committees by various governments, and now we are finally implementing this reform, the main point of which is, first of all, that all Israelis will stop paying the television licensing fee as of next year; this tax which costs every family NIS 300 per annum will be cancelled.

Public broadcasting, to which we ascribe great importance, will undergo a significant reform which, in the end, will greatly strengthen it. The good IBA employees, and there are many, will continue to work for the new authority and those who retire will enjoy full and fair terms.

I think that this reform is essential. We want stronger public broadcasting. It needs to be efficient. It must undergo a change which has been necessary for many years, and I very much appreciate the work that you, Gilad Erdan, have done in bringing this reform before us. It is not without problems. It will certainly be amended during the legislative process. But the direction is clear and I believe that the result is assured."

Cabinet Approves Recommendations of the Public Committee that Considered the Purchase of a Plane for the President and Prime Minister, and an Office and Residence for the Prime Minister (Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

The Cabinet, at its weekly meeting today (Sunday, 4 May 2014), approved the recommendations of the public committee that considered the purchase of a plane for the President and the Prime Minister, and the construction of an office and official residence for the Prime Minister. The committee report will be posted on the Prime Minister's Office website.