Jerusalem, 23 August 1996

CABINET COMMUNIQUE

(Communicated by Cabinet Secretariat)

At its weekly meeting today (Friday), 23.08.96:

1. The Prime Minister congratulated the Defense Minister and the defense establishment on the important achievement of the successful Arrow Missile test launch. The Cabinet received a briefing on the current status of the project’s development and a report on the results of the latest test.

2. The Cabinet received security briefings from the head of the GSS. The discussion was held within the framework of section 44 of Basic Law: The Government.

3. In the political sphere, the Prime Minister told the meeting: "We intend to renew the talks with the Palestinian Authority, now that a steering committee has been formed by both parties, in order to hold negotiations on a framework of issues. Regarding discussions on the issue of Hebron, no agreement will be signed before being brought to the Cabinet.

The Prime Minister added: "The Prime Minister, Defense Minister, and Foreign Minister have responsibility for political and security matters and, if other ministers wish to express themselves on these sensitive issues, they must coordinate this with me or with the Defense or Foreign Ministers."

The Prime Minister briefed the ministers on his conversation with President Mubarak, yesterday. The Prime Minister told of his impression from the Egyptian President that the Cairo Conference will be held as scheduled.

4. The cabinet again decided to appoint Shmuel Hollander to serve as Civil Service Commissioner. He will assume this post on a date to be determined by the Prime Minister, in accordance with the timing of Yitzhak Galnoors’s resignation.

After an appeal was submitted to the High Court of Justice’s on this matter, an agreement was reached between the Prime Minister and current Civil Service Commissioner Galnoor, following which the High Court of Justice’s ruled that the claim of the appellants had been resolved. Once the Civil Service Commissioner informed the Prime Minister that he would resign when his contract expired, there is no legal sanction preventing the re-appointment of Shmuel Hollander, who will enter his position after Yitzhak Galnoor leaves his post.

Attorney Hollander has been a professional civil servant for 26 years. He has held various positions including: Deputy Legal Advisor to the State Comptroller, Legal Advisor to the Civil Service Commission, Legal Advisor to the Prime Minister’s Office, and Cabinet Secretary.

5. The Cabinet approved the appointment of Gidon Shamir to the position of Director-General of the Absorption Ministry, replacing Ephraim Cohen.

6. The Cabinet approved the appointment of Moshe Fogel as Director of the Government Press Office, replacing Uri Dromi.

7. The Labor and Social Affairs Minister presented a plan addressing the current situation of foreign workers residing in Israel, and Tel Aviv Mayor, Roni Milo reviewed the situation in Tel Aviv in this respect.

The Interior Minister and Public Security Minister reported on their respective ministries’ treatment of foreign workers.

The Prime Minister said at the meeting that decisive against must be taken to combat the phenomenon of foreign workers in Israel illegally. At the same time, we must defend the rights of all people. These are people, and must be treated as such.

The Prime Minister said that it is of the utmost importance for the Government to address this matter, and to act toward drastically reducing the number of illegal foreign workers in Israel, as well as to reduce the scope of entries of foreign workers entering Israel with permits.

The Cabinet, at its next meeting, will continue this discussion and make practical decisions on this matter.

8. Minister Natan Sharansky asked whether there is truth to reports about a "Russian mafia" and expressed reservations about such labels being attached to new immigrants from the CIS.

The Public Security Minister clarified that there is no basis to reports of a "Russian mafia," and his ministry rejects attempts to link crime to immigration from the CIS. The Public Security Ministry deals with "international criminal elements" and not with a "Russian mafia."