Photo Credit: Uri Lenz/FLASH90
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leading a cabinet meeting. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz sits next to him.

At the weekly cabinet meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touted his government’s economic accomplishments and the strength of the Israeli economy relative to the global economy.

“The world is still in a continuing economic crisis, the worst to strike the global economy in 80 years, Netanyahu said. “We are obliged to tighten our belt in order to maintain the Israeli economy.”

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Nevertheless, Netanyahu said the government has taken action to increase social welfare programs including making education free starting at age three, which just took affect and providing free dental care for children up to age 12.

The Prime Minister said that extending free education to children to the age of three would save the average household NIS 800 ($200) a month.

He also pointed to the reforms in cellar phone market forcing cell phone companies to share their infrastructure, which has allowed several new companies to emerge offering unlimited cell phone plans at NIS 100 ($25) per month or less.

Netanyahu said these moves were “the most social thing” to do, referencing the attacks made on the government by social justice protestors and Labor party leader Shelly Yachamovitch.

In addition, Netanyahu cited the most recent unemployment report putting the unemployment rate for July at 6.5%, which Netanyahu said was “lower than the unemployment rate in the US, Europe and almost every other developed state.”

Netanyahu also addressed Iran’s nuclear program, reiterating his position that diplomacy has failed because the world has not set clear red lines.

The IAEA “report confirms what we have been saying for some time,” Netanyahu said. “While the international sanctions are indeed making things difficult for the Iranian economy, they are not delaying the progress of the Iranian nuclear project.”

According to the report, Iran doubled the number of centrifuges in its nuclear facility near Qom, which is buried deep in a mountain and considered immune to Israeli attack.

Although not all these centrifuges are operational, according to The New York Times, the facility has three-fourths the amount of centrifuges it would need to be completely operational.

The Times also reported that the agency found evidence of an extensive clean up  at another cite where IAEA inspectors believe explosives tests may have been conducted.

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