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

September 6, 2009 / 17 Elul 5769

PM Netanyahu's Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting (Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 6.9.09:

"Today, we mark 20 years since the great wave of immigration to the State of Israel. Twenty years have passed since the Iron Curtain fell, since the gates of the Soviet Union were opened to free emigration. Approximately 1 million new immigrants have since come to Israel from the former Soviet Union, along with immigrants from Ethiopia, the US and Europe, and have changed the face of Israeli society.

The immigrants have integrated into the life of the country and have become a principal and important element in all aspects of life: Economics, security, academia, medicine, sports, culture, the arts, etc. With hindsight, it is possible to say that it is clear that the wave of immigration was one of the greatest miracles that have happened to the State of Israel. Today, the Cabinet will discuss immigration and absorption. We will be briefed by Absorption Minister Sofia Landver and Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky. Ministers Yuli Edelstein and Stas Misezhnikov are also here. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is currently in Africa: I think that the presence of these ministers and of Natan Sharansky, all from the former USSR, is the best testimony to their integration into the leadership of the country.

I know that there have been – and still are – difficulties in this process. We will discuss some of them today. Some of them we have already dealt with, such as the plan to absorb immigrant scientists, which I began in 1996, along with Ronnie Karli. I know that there were problems and we resolved them in 2009 and I will also instruct that they be resolved in 2010; today, we will continue with this plan. But the most important thing in my eyes is to understand that despite these difficulties, we successfully absorbed almost 15% of the population of the State of Israel in a few years. This is not something that other countries in the world do either easily or at all; most do not do so. We do so because it is our purpose and our mission. The ingathering of the exiles is one of the foundations of the Jewish state; therefore, we – like all Israeli Governments – are committed to continuing this process. I would like to take this opportunity to commend the approximately 1 million immigrants from various countries who have come to the State of Israel in recent years; I would like to wish you all a continued successful absorption and may you continue to contribute to the State of Israel."

For further information contact:
Michael Jankelowitz,
Liaison to the Foreign Press, Jewish Agency for Israel
Mobile: +972-52-6130220
Voice-mail: +972-2-620-2780 




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06 Sep 2009 / 17 Elul 5769 0