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Cabinet Holds Special meeting in Haifa Following the Wave of Fires

Sunday, November 27, 2016 16:25
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Cabinet Holds Special meeting in Haifa Following the Wave of Fires
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Sunday, 27 November 2016),
in Haifa, at the start of the special weekly Cabinet meeting following the
wave of fires, made the following remarks:

“First, I would like to commend the IDF soldiers who, this morning,
successfully repelled an attack against in the border triangle area. We are
well prepared on our northern border and we will not allow any Daesh or
other hostile elements, under cover of the war in Syria, to establish
themselves adjacent to our borders.

En route here this morning I spoke with Rama Ben-Tzvi; her and her husband’s
restaurant in the Jerusalem hills was completely burnt. I think that we all
know how much love they have invested in this, their life’s work, for 20
years and in an instant, it went up in flames. The fire there and in other
places burned property, it burned objects replete with memories, it even
burned animals in some places, but to our joy, this time we were
well-prepared and it did not burn lives; we maintained lives. I told Rama
that we would help her rebuild her restaurant forthwith. The Director
General of the Prime Minister’s Office has already spoken to her. This, in
effect, is our message to all Israeli citizens whose homes and property were
hit by the fires: We will help you rebuild your homes and your lives
forthwith and this is the main goal of this special Cabinet meeting this
morning in Haifa.

We have come to Haifa and we have invited council heads from across the
north whose communities were affected by the fires in order to give them
clear message: All government ministries are committed to extending a hand
to you quickly, to shorten the bureaucracy, and I say to brutally shorten
the bureaucracy, to bring you assistance, relief and rebuilding as soon as
possible. In the meantime, we will do everything necessary to maintain your
remaining property.

Immediately upon concluding my remarks, I will ask my fellow ministers – the
ministers of Public Security, Finance and Interior – who, I must say, from
the outset, have worked tirelessly in the field, to report on their
ministries’ activities.

Later, I will ask the other ministers to do so. Of course, we will be
measured by results and not by processes, by deeds and not words. We will be
measured by results. The event is still not over. There are reports now of a
fire in the Zichron area and several other locales, that seem as if they are
rekindling. We are working on all fronts, including law enforcement. Whoever
starts a fire, either by malice or negligence, whoever incites to arson – we
will act against them with full force.

There is no doubt that thanks to the courage of the firefighters, the pilots
from Israel and abroad, and to the determined response of the Israel Police,
MDA, IDF, Home front Command and the other rescue forces, the local councils
represented here and the extraordinary spirit shown by Israeli citizens –
thanks to all these, we achieved impressive control of the fires which, to a
certain extent, were much more complicated and much more difficult than the
Carmel fire.

On Friday, I received a meteorological report, which indicated difficult
conditions vis-à-vis dryness and the weather, the combination of
temperatures and the wind and continued dryness, it was 30% more difficult
than the conditions that prevailed during the Carmel fire. Along with all
the government ministers here, I salute all those who took part in dealing
with this crisis, in extinguishing the fires, and in guarding life and
property. We have built an impressive ability to fight fires on the ground
and from the air and it proved itself. I do not want to imagine what might
have happened if we hadn’t built this ability.

I would like to thank the many governments who sent assistance in the form
of firefighting aircraft, pilots and firefighters and I would like to thank
the personnel at the Foreign Ministry and the National Security Council and
especially you, Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Zeev Tzuk-Tam who supervised very
impressive international coordination. It is not simple to bring here so
many elements, pilots, planes and materials from so many countries.

Against the mighty forces of nature, countries worked together and the
principle that has guided me and the government was – better over-ability
than the risk of under-ability.

During the events, I personally visited several centers of the fires and I
already instructed that a team be established to learn lessons so that we
will be even better prepared in the future. I am initiating the
establishment of a multi-national force that will be coordinated not just
for action in time of disaster, but also to acquire planes and allocate the
acquisition of various types of planes so that we might thereby achieve
multi-national effectiveness, and not just national effectiveness, in
dealing with gigantic fires. I have spoken about this with several leaders
from the region. I must say that they have shown great interest in the idea
and we will advance it.”


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