Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lauded what he called Israel’s “transportation revolution,” speaking at Sunday’s Cabinet meeting following the opening of the Tel Aviv light-rail system on Aug. 18, describing it as one of many “revolutions” his government has led.
“In the 16 years that I have led governments, we have implemented revolutionary reforms that have transformed Israel into one of the most advanced countries in the world,” said the prime minister.
Celebrating the opening of the light rail, he said that “approximately 100,000 Israelis rode on the new light rail. Since the establishment of the state, they have talked and talked about a light rail in the Greater Tel Aviv Metropolitan Area, and we have done it.
“We have already turned Israel into an international transportation hub with the seaports that we have built, the open skies policy that we have led—which you led, Minister [of Energy and National Infrastructure Israel] Katz—international airports that we have built and expanded, flights over Saudi Arabia that have dramatically shortened the journey to the Gulf states and Asia. Truly, this is a new Middle East,” the prime minister said.
Netanyahu also credited his government with turning Israel into an economic power through its “free-market revolution”; an energy power through its “gas revolution” (referring to offshore natural-gas development); and a power in the field of water through its advances in desalinization.
Israel has also become a cyber power and a “power for peace” through the revolution of the Abraham Accords, he added.
Netanyahu said the government is now focused on a revolution in the cost of living by reducing tariffs and opening barriers to imports.
He said that Israel’s economy is strong while others falter, noting that credit rating agencies remain bullish on the Jewish state even while they lower the ratings of major powers.
“Perhaps the deal that symbolizes more than any the great revolution in Israel’s status is the largest security deal in the history of the country that was signed last week with Germany, the Arrow-3 deal worth NIS 14 billion [$3.5 billion],” Netanyahu said.
“This deal underscores the major change that has affected our people, which was helpless during the Holocaust and is now sought after by the entire world.”