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      PM Netanyahu: ‘Israel Overcame 2011 Upheaval’

      The past year was one of upheaval that Israel met with continued economic growth and increased security, says Prime Minister Netanyahu.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 1/2/2012, 1:06 PM

      Netanyahu reviews 2011
      Netanyahu reviews 2011
      GPO Video

      The past year's calendar was one of upheaval that Israel met with continued economic growth and increased security, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet Sunday.

      Standing before a chalkboard, the Prime Minister took on the pose of a teacher and illustrated what he said were government accomplishments in the face of events in 2011.

      “We faced, and still face, an historic regional upheaval that is overtaking almost the entire Arab world,” he said, noting that this upheaval was accompanied by a global financial crisis. “But these two upheavals set before us very major challenges regarding security, the economy and diplomacy. We will continue to act responsibly and without rose-colored glasses.”

      The Prime Minister pointed put that the Israeli economy grew by 4.8 percent last year, more than most developed countries and far more than the United States.

      Unemployment has dropped to 5 percent, a level that has not been seen in decades.

      Following the “social justice” protests this past summer, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s political antennae understood the message and put into action several policies to lighten the economic burden on middle and low-income families.

      As of Sunday, the first day of 2012, working fathers of children under three years old receive monthly bonuses of more than $125, and working mothers now receive a monthly bonus of more than $50 if they have children over the age of five.

      He also said that children under three will receive compulsory and free education later this year.