|Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday, 19 February 2023):
„We are confronting our enemies on two main fronts: The terrorism front and the Iranian front.
On the terrorism front, in addition to actions and laws that we are advancing against terrorists and their immediate circle, we are taking vigorous action against incitement.
Over the weekend, I agreed with Minister Ben-Gvir on the formation of a special task force to fight against those who incite to murderous acts against us. The National Security Minister will head the task force. He will be supported by investigators, police officers and prosecutors, in full coordination with the Justice Ministry, and with the participation of elements from the ISA, the IDF and the National Cyber Directorate. I wish Minister Ben-Gvir, together with all ministers, success in this important mission.
On the Iranian front, our efforts are unceasing for the simple reason that Iran’s acts of aggression are unceasing. Last week, Iran again attacked an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf and struck at the international freedom of navigation. Yesterday, Iran attacked an American base in Syria. Iran continues to send deadly weapons that attack masses of innocent civilians far from its borders.
Iran is trying relentlessly to attack the State of Israel and its citizens wherever they are in the world. Iran’s attacks will not weaken us.
We will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons and we will not allow it to entrench on our northern border. We are doing – and will do – everything to defend our people and we are responding forcefully to the attacks against us.
But I would like to stress something else: Iran is not only trying to attack us physically. It is trying to attack our national morale. It is trying to undermine our unity as a people.
I heard the remarks by Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy in Lebanon. I heard Nasrallah’s remarks when he spoke about the demonstrations against the government and said with satisfaction that a civil war in Israel is approaching. Therefore, I say to Nasrallah: Don’t count on a civil war. It will not happen. It will not happen because we are indeed brothers. It will not happen because what Nasrallah does not understand is that we are a living democracy. In a democracy, there are differences of opinion and debates.
Sometimes there is agreement and when it is necessary, there are decisions. There will be no civil war because we always remember that we have fought shoulder-to-shoulder to defend our state and build our land.
At this opportunity, I am pleased to disappoint our enemies and also reassure our friends: Israel is, and will remain, a strong, vibrant and independent democracy. It is precisely against the backdrop of the expectations of our enemies, expectations of destruction and bloodshed, that talk of blood in the streets must stop. The flames need to be lowered. The mood needs to be calmed. This is the clear call that I am making from here and I expect all public leaders to say these clear words. This is what the Israeli public expects of us and it is the clear message that we need to send to our enemies.”