The prime minister said that Europe was undergoing a wave of Islamization, anti-Semitism, and anti-Zionism.
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Netanyahu’s remarks followed the decision by the International Criminal Court in the Hague to begin an investigation of Israel’s conduct in Operation Protective Edge, and to check whether Israel had committed war crimes. The decision drew strong condemnation from Israel, and the US also condemned it.
“The decision by the prosecutor in the International Criminal Court to open an investigation against Israel is the height of hypocrisy and the opposite of justice, ” Netanyahu said. “I have already encountered such things in my years of public service representing Israel, both as ambassador to the UN and as prime minister, but the prosecutor’s decision here is a category in itself. It legitimizes international terrorism under international auspices. We’ll fight against it using all means, and enlist others to fight this absurd decision, and they are already enlisting. We’ll defend Israel’s right to defend itself. We won’t let IDF soldiers face an international tribunal. I also want to say that these measures will not deter us from doing what is necessary to defend Israel and its citizens.”
At this point, Netanyahu said that he wanted to reduce Israel’s economic dependence on Western Europe: “I emphasize the markets in the east, not because we want to give up on the other markets, but we definitely want to reduce our dependence on certain markets in Western Europe. Western Europe is undergoing a wave of Islamization, anti-Semitism, and anti-Zionism – these waves are sweeping Europe, and we want to ensure that Israel will have diversified markets all over the world in the long term.”
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel’s imports from the European Union (EU) totaled NIS 70.1 billion in January-November 2014 (1.1% less than in the corresponding period last year), while exports to the EU dipped 1.2% to NIS 49.9 billion. Imports from Asia during the same period totaled NIS 44.1 billion, and exports to Asia totaled NIS 31.7 billion.
Netanyahu stated, “Of course, we’re also promoting Israel’s development in other areas. What interests Japan and also other economies is Israeli technology. Today, we’re getting a report in the cabinet about our actions to promote digital Israel. At the same time, we’re also undertaking large-scale transport infrastructure construction. We’re also building high-speed communications infrastructure that is reducing the socially outlying areas, and giving every boy and girl in Israel access to the world of tomorrow.
“In the end, we’re also strengthening Israel and all its population groups by also taking care of the minimum wage. We raised the minimum wage for the first time in 2011, if I’m not mistaken, to NIS 4, 300. I think that this reflects our desire to help all parts of society, and I’m glad that this was done with the consent of the employers and the workers. This is important for Israel, and we definitely welcome it.”
Netanyahu said that the government would remove barriers to immigration to Israel by Jews in order to make it easier for French and other European Jews seeking to immigrate to Israel.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com