Leaders to meet on Iran in Syria, security and regional developments; Pompeo holding meetings with NATO officials; PM confirms 700 million NIS budget for Israel’s south; Netanyahu: The resilience of the residents of the Gaza adjacent communities is an important component in the national resilience.
Prime Minister Netanyahu left for Brussels Monday morning to meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The leaders will discuss Iran in Syria, Israel’s security and regional developments. Pompeo will be holding meetings with NATO officials before meeting with the prime minister on Monday evening.
During his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced approval for a budget of 700 million NIS to “strengthen civilian resilience in Sderot and the Gaza-adjacent communities in 2019-2020”. The plan includes the “establishment and transfer of factories to the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip and the development of industrial zones,” assistance in education, health and social welfare. Following these projects, there is set to be an increase in “budgets of the resilience centers active in the area and strengthening security, including personal security”.
The budget will assist in the areas of agriculture, tourism, transportation, public buildings, planning and much more.
On the budget, Netanyahu stated Sunday “We have decided to continue the assistance plan that was enacted in recent years. We will invest an additional 700 million NIS in the plan for the welfare of the residents of the area. They are steadfast and we support them. The resilience of the residents of the Gaza adjacent communities is an important component in the national resilience. The resilience of the residents of the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip helps me and the cabinet ministers in making the right decisions at the right time.”
In mid-November, the IDF carried out dozens of strikes on Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in the Strip following over 500 rocket attacks on Israel. Netanyahu agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire which led to protests from Israel’s southern residents and condemnation from several Israel members of Knesset (parliament). Israel’s then Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, resigned due to the ceasefire and government’s actions with the Gaza Strip and called for early elections.
Shortly following, Netanyahu announced he would take on the role of defense minister to avoid early elections during heightened security threats on the State of Israel. He explained at the time “In normal times, a leader must be attentive to the hearts of the people, and our people are wise. But in times of crisis, when making critical decisions in the field of security, the public cannot always be a partner in the crucial considerations that must be concealed from the enemy.”
Be sure to watch Amir’s recent Middle East Update from the Sea of Galilee.