Cabinet extends state-subsidised health benefits, nod to ministry heads

The government has given the green light to more than 120 new drugs and treatments that will be subsidized as part of the country’s healthcare “basket”, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced during Sunday’s cabinet meeting, as ministers Also approved the appointment of directors general of several ministries.

Focusing largely on the dismissal of governing leader Arya Deri after last week’s High Court ruling barring him from serving as a minister, Netanyahu began the meeting by saying: “The most important thing is health. , so we’ll start with health.”

Netanyahu said the additional services would help more than 350,000 Israelis, which he called “major news”.

She added that the new services will include discounted eyeglasses for children, advanced cancer treatments, diabetes medications, a vaccination against herpes zoster (shingles) for those who are at risk or are over 65, “and many more.” some.”

Netanyahu told cabinet ministers that subsidizing the new drugs and treatments would cost NIS 650 million ($190 million).

He thanked Derry for pushing through the changes during his brief tenure as health minister, as well as the health service “basket” committee and the Ministry of Health for their assistance.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reads a letter to Chairman of the Government Aryeh Deri at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on January 22, 2023, informing Deri that he will remove him from ministerial office. (Koby Gideon / GPO)

Netanyahu continued, “From health to security,” while updating the cabinet on his meeting last week with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

Netanyahu said the two discussed regional security and ways to cooperate against the Iranian threat, which he described as a top agenda item for both countries.

“I was impressed that there is a genuine and mutual desire to reach a consensus on this issue,” Netanyahu said, “which is of decisive importance to the security of the kingdom.” The issue will be discussed between Jerusalem and Washington in the coming weeks.”

Moving on to the economy, Netanyahu said Israel has raised $2 billion by selling government bonds to international institutional investors, with demand exceeding $10 billion.

“It completely violates the campaign of fear that the media is leading against the government,” he said, referring to warnings that a controversial judicial overhaul and other steps being pushed by the government would hurt the economy.

“The world really believes in the State of Israel and the Israeli economy,” Netanyahu continued. “It believes in the leadership of the State of Israel and the proof is the huge demand for the bonds and the low interest rates that the State of Israel is paying for them.”

The cabinet also extended the classification of certain communities and regions as a national priority until the end of April, a move aimed at strengthening outlying areas and encouraging migration to the periphery.

Later, the cabinet approved the appointment of former Deputy Chief of Army Staff Eyal Zameer as Director General of the Ministry of Defence. The retired Major General was twice considered to lead the Israel Defense Forces in 2018 and 2022. Ultimately, however, front-running candidates were selected instead.

Ronan Levy was approved as the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Levy has held various positions in the security establishment over the years, including senior roles in the Shin Bet and the National Security Council (NSC).

Meanwhile, Derry amended a bylaw to enable the Clat Health Service to appoint Eli Cohen as its director, before being reluctantly pulled out by Netanyahu.

Cohen, not to be confused with Secretary of State Eli Cohen, is serving as executive director, while his formal appointment was held up for months because his wife also holds a senior position at Clalit.

Existing rules required Cohen’s wife to step down in order to be appointed director of the organization, which Klatt asked Derry to amend, paving the way for his appointment on Sunday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) with the then outgoing Military Secretary to the Prime Minister, Major General Eyal Zamir, at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on September 8, 2015. (Haim Zach / GPO)

At Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Public Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir issued a demand for the destruction of six illegal structures built by Palestinians last month in areas of the West Bank that are completely controlled by Israel, as well as the illegal Khan al- Ahmar Bedouin Camp.

Ben Gvir’s demand came after Friday’s evacuation and destruction of an illegal Jewish settlement outpost in the northern West Bank angered ultra-nationalist parties in the coalition between Defense Minister Yoav Galant and Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich. led public demonstrations. ,

Jeremy Sharon and Stuart Viner contributed to this report.

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