March 30, 2013 - 11:51 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did the correct and rational thing by apologizing to Turkey last week over the Mavi Marmara, International Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) said Friday, March 29 evening in an interview with Channel 2, according to The Jerusalem Post.
He added that in his opinion Israel should have apologized three years ago
He noted that while the issue was important to the U.S., but the initiative was Israel's. "We took into account that [Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan would try to portray it as a victory," he said.
Steinitz, however, said the affair was not a matter of justice, but that relations with Turkey are important and reconciliation between the two countries will allow renewed discussion about the Syria crisis. He also said that the move should put an end to legal claims against IDF soldiers involved in the raid of theMavi Marmara flotilla that led to the death of nine Turks.
"We put the ball in their court... we did what we needed to do," he opined, explaining that Netanyahu had decided to take advantage of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to the region to put an end to the affair.
Also questioned on the state's budget, the former finance minister said his replacement Yair Lapid is conveying the right overall message - that the budget is difficult.
"He is doing the right thing, he is preparing the public for tough cuts. There will always be cuts, but this time is will be particularly difficult," Steinitz said. He pointed to recommendations made by the Trajtenberg Committee on Socioeconomic Change - brought about by the social justice movement - as a major cause of necessary budget cuts, saying that they costs 10 billion Shekels. "Now we need to fund those recommendations," he said.
Steinitz, however, was keen to emphasize that relative to the economy in the rest of the world, Israel's economy is in good shape.