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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

PM Bennett's Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Israel - Prime Minister's Office


Following are Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting, today:

"On Friday night we attacked and destroyed weapons manufacturing facilities and several other Hamas targets in Gaza. This is the response to the firing of a single rocket from the Gaza Strip which was intercepted by Iron Dome.

Unlike in the past we no longer make excuses for the terrorists, neither are we defining them as breakaway factions or electrical mishaps. As far as we are concerned, Hamas is the address.

This past year has been the quietest in over a decade for the residents of the south. We immediately stopped the transfer of suitcases of dollars to Hamas and switched from a policy of containment vis-a-vis the firing at Israelis to one of zero tolerance. Alongside this we also changed our approach to the residents of the Gaza Strip and opened up for them the possibility of working in Israel. The average salary of a resident of Gaza is around NIS 800 and in Israel it is around NIS 8,000. This acts as quite a restraint and also differentiates between Hamas and the residents.

We insist on absolute quiet for the residents of Ashkelon, Sderot and the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip. For the first time, there is a younger generation in the south that has experienced quiet. Our goal is safety and quiet lives for the residents of the south as well as preventing the renewed armament of Hamas. In the past we would buy a temporary quiet but would pay for it with the armament. The armament process is very slow, the slowest it has been in years because we have closed off the possibility of bringing in weaponry via Rafiah in cooperation with Egypt and the US.

We will take strong action against any attempt to undermine this quiet. The price that we will exact from the enemy for every action against our people will be high and painful.

I would like to thank Defense Minister Benny Gantz and the security establishment for this joint work.

We are currently witnessing Iranian attempts to attack Israelis in various overseas locations. The security services of the State of Israel are working to thwart attempted attacks before they are launched. We will continue to strike those who send the terrorists and those who send those who send them. Our new rule is: Whoever sends – pays.

Alongside this, we have warned Israeli citizens to avoid flying to Turkey – especially Istanbul – at this time if it is not necessary. The danger is still great. I call on the citizens of Israel to show personal responsibility and safeguard their security.

In addition to the work in the security sphere, we are continuing to work hard for the benefit of all citizens of the country. The Defense Minister will submit for Cabinet approval the advancement of extensive sections of the _Nefesh Echat_ reform for disabled IDF veterans.

As part of the reform, steps will be taken to provide for cancelling the tiresome bureaucracy. Housing and vehicle stipends and assistance will be increased. We will continue to act for disabled IDF veterans and see to it that they receive the treatment and assistance that they deserve.

Also, we are continuing the fight against the cost-of-living. It must be known that prices in Israel have increased over the past decade and even though inflation in Israel is currently among the lowest in the world, the overall level of prices is simply high. Today, the Economy and Industry Minister, and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman are submitting a decision to move forward on the entry of foreign companies into the Israeli retail market.

The most important thing in the fight against the cost-of-living is competition. I saw this as a former managing director. The strongest force is competition. Only this way can we lower prices. We will continue to increase competition in order to lower the cost-of-living in Israel in all areas.

I call on everyone to hold their heads high and be proud of the work and the good spirit here among the ministers. We are not breaking and we are not giving up on the citizens of the State of Israel. The responsibility is in the hands of each and every one of us."

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