Jerusalem, 8 August 1999

Cabinet Communique

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 8.8.99:

1. The Cabinet received a political briefing from the Prime Minister and a comprehensive security briefing by GSS Director and OC Central Command.

As required by Basic Law: The Government, secrecy was imposed on the security briefings, which concentrated on the security situation in Judea, Samaria and Hebron following the recent terrorist attack.

2. The Prime Minister briefed the Cabinet on the political situation, as follows:

– His visit to Russia was successful. Regarding the problem of anti-semitism, the hosts made it unequivocally clear that they sharply condemn this phenomenon and that appropriate measures would be taken.

Regarding halting the flow of nuclear technology, it was made clear to the Prime Minister that necessary steps including an anticipated strengthening of export licensing legislation will be taken. The importance of Russian involvement in the political process was also discussed.

– Regarding the political process itself, the Prime Minister repeated Israel’s commitment to implementing the Wye Agreement and that in the absence of agreed-upon changes, the countdown for the implementation of the Agreement will begin on 1 September. However, Israel is currently waiting for the Palestinian response regarding the possibility of spreading out the schedule for implementing part of the second redeployment over several months in order to facilitate tangible discussion of the agreement on the framework for the permanent settlement and expects that its proposals will be taken seriously. This parallels discussions with the Palestinian Authority regarding additional issues such as a deepwater port, the southern passage, the collection of weapons and the employment of police personnel. The dialogue will continue in the coming days.

Regarding the involvement of the United States, it is understood that the achievement of solutions in the process is desired. Regarding the political process with Syria, the Prime Minister pointed out that contacts for direct dialogue are being made under the auspices of the United States.

3. The Cabinet approved the composition of the Political-Security Cabinet and the Social-Economic Cabinet. The Prime Minister will chair both cabinets. The composition of the Political-Security Cabinet is as follows:

Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister David Levy, Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, Finance Minister Avraham Shohat, Public Security Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, Labor and Social Welfare Minister Eli Yishai, Education Minister Yossi Sarid, Transportation Minister Yitzhak Mordechai, Construction and Housing Minister Yitzhak Levy, Interior Minister Natan Sharansky and Regional Cooperation Minister Shimon Peres.

Ministers Dalia Itzik, Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Haim Ramon and Matan Vilna’i have been appointed as observers.

The Deputy Defense Minister and Attorney-General have been issued with standing invitations.

The composition of the Social-Economic Cabinet is as follows:

Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Transport Minister Yitzhak Mordechai (acting committee chairman), Finance Minister Avraham Shohat, Labor Minister Eli Yishai, Trade and Industry Minister Ran Cohen, Housing Minister Yitzhak Levy, Interior Minister Natan Sharansky, Communications Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Public Security Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, Absorption Minister Yuli Tamir and Minister Michael Melchior.

The Deputy Foreign Minister and the Bank of Israel Governor will be issued with standing invitations to the meetings of the Social-Economic Cabinet.

The Social-Economic Cabinet is intended to develop policy recommendations on social and economic issues, and will appoint the government’s representatives on the socio-economic council which will soon be appointed.

4. The Cabinet approved the following appointments:

A. Major-General (Res.) Aryeh Ramot as Director-General of the Ministry of Public Security.

B. Attorney Shlomo Ben-Eliyahu as Director-General of the Housing Ministry.

C. The Cabinet decided, after considering the recommendations of the Appointments Committee of the Civil Service Commissioner, that within six months the Housing Minister will express his opinion on the performance and experience of the Director-General, after which it will be within the authority of the Prime Minister to bring the matter to the discussion of the Cabinet.

D. The Cabinet approved the appointment of Mr. Avi Maoz as the Director-General of the Interior Ministry. The Cabinet adopted the recommendation of the Attorney-General and of the Appointments Committee of the Civil Service Commissioner (in line with the opinion of the Interior Minister) and approved the appointment for a trial period of six months.

E. The Cabinet extended the temporary appointment of Mrs. Haviva Cohen as Manager of the Ministry of Industry and Trade Investments Center.

5. The Prime Minister, relying on the recommendation of the Attorney-General and the Civil Service Commissioner, announced that the ministerial team which has recently dealt with the conditions covering senior appointments in the civil service, will also deal with defining criteria for the appointments of directors-general.