Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday evening, at the Channel 9 outstanding employee awards ceremony, awarded a commendation for bravery to Dr. Regina Fikman, who served as a medical officer during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.
"Regina, congratulations,” Netanyahu said at the ceremony. “You said just now that the soldiers were like your children and that they must all be brought back home. I was just in Moscow to mark 25 years since the resumption of relations. In the framework of this visit we went to a Russian military base. Along with the Chief-of-Staff I asked that they return to us a tank from the Battle of Sultan Yacoub in the First Lebanon War. For 34 years the families of three MIAs have had no grave to visit. We will never ever stop searching for these fallen – and we will bring them back home.”
“But at this opportunity, President Putin acceded to our request and transferred the tank, which is in Russia. And I said there, with a senior Russian commander: 'We look after our soldiers because they defend our country and we look after them.' And you, Regina, look after them. Well done,” he continued.
“So many things have happened in the 25 years since the resumption of relations. There is no doubt that the major aliyah from the former USSR. From Russia, Ukraine and other countries, has completely changed the face of the state. It is changing it even today; we see this throughout the country in the economy, in culture, on Facebook, in medicine. I asked Regina's father if he also was a doctor. He said, 'No, I am an engineer.' So also in engineering, in every field, in sports, music and literature, in every field. And it is not just in quantity but mainly in quality. This is a great change.”
“I would like more and more to enter politics, and political discourse. More opinions must be heard in the State of Israel, in economics, politics, policy and culture. We want a range of views and you bring them independently, individually and creatively,” said Netanyahu.
“I am proud that in my first term as Prime minister, 20 years ago, I helped break the glass ceiling and we had two Russian-speaking ministers, a Russian-speaking director general; today he is Defense Minister. And we have since continued with this and today we have three Russian-speaking ministers, two men and one woman,” he added.
“The Speaker of the Knesset is from the former USSR as is the Chairman of the Jewish Agency. But everything I have seen today, all the award winners, you are all breaking the glass in your own ways. You are breaking glass and I encourage you to continue to do so because there is no limit to what we can do, to what you can do in our country, and I am proud of you. I salute you, each and every one of you,” said the Prime Minister.
“We need you here. We want you to continue to build our country together because you are a great contribution to the future of the Jewish People. I want to offer you heartfelt congratulations and it is genuine, you know that. You know how much the Jewish People and I appreciate your contribution up until today and in the future. May you be successful."