PM Netanyahu in Ashkelon
PM Netanyahu in AshkelonAmos Ben Gershom, GPO

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday participated in a ceremony marking the laying of a cornerstone in Ashkelon.

The ceremony marked the beginning of construction of 12 new factories in Ashkelon's Industrial Zone.

Attending the ceremony were Economy Minister Eli Cohen (Likud), Ashkelon Mayor Tomer Glam, and the owners of the twelve factories to be built. The factories will provide residents of Ashkelon and nearby localities with another 1,000 jobs.

"We are facing challenges in many areas and on many fronts, and sometimes the price is too heavy to pay, but we rise to the challenge," Netanyahu said at the ceremony. "We are turning the State of Israel into a world power."

He added: "There will be no long-term agreement with Gaza as long as the rocket fire continues. We will put an end to it - that is our policy. We are doing that in a very forceful way. You've seen our actions over the last few weeks. I'm telling you that always, including in recent days, we have surprising operational plans - even more surprising than what you've seen. We will not put up with the 'drizzle' of rockets, we will work to end it."

"Residents of Ashkelon, the Gaza border region, and southern Israel deserve exactly the same quiet as the rest of Israel's citizens deserve. We are working to bring complete quiet, and that will only come through the strength and deterrence of the IDF and our security forces. We are always working to improve our plans, and apparently the entrepreneurs, civilians, and contractors building here understand and feel that - and I assume our enemies are also internalizing a lot of what I'm saying right now - and if necessary, they will internalize it even more."

Noting his recent conversation with US President Donald Trump, Netanyahu said: "I spoke yesterday with President Trump - it was a very important conversation for Israel's security. We spoke about Iran, but we also spoke at length about the historic opportunities which we have in the coming months. Among them is making the Jordan Valley Israel's recognized eastern border, as well as a defense treaty with the US. These are things we could only have dreamed about before now, but now we have an opportunity to make them happen."

"I therefore offered [Blue and White Chairman MK] Benny Gantz a proposal - let's utilize these historic opportunities in a unity government we'll form now, in accordance with the plan I offered. I went very far with this offer, because we need to utilize these opportunities. We don't need new elections, right now we need to form this government for the sake of Israel's security, and the State of Israel, and the future of Israel."