(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 15 April 2007:

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert discussed his meeting today with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Abu Mazen.  Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Amir Peretz will also attend the meeting. Today’s will be the first in a series of meetings between the PA Chairman and the Prime Minister that will be held according to circumstances. The intention is that they will be held every two weeks. The Prime Minister said that in the framework of today’s meeting, he and the PA Chairman would discuss a series of issues, including those related to the PA’s struggle against terrorism and the PA Chairman’s oft-repeated commitment to release Gilad Shalit. The issue of political horizons related to the possibility of promoting a solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians will also be raised.

Prime Minister Olmert emphasized he had already declared several months ago that there were positive aspects to the Saudi initiative and noted that following the recent Arab League meeting in Riyadh he had reiterated that Israel is prepared to hold discussions with any group of Arab countries on their and Israel’s ideas and initiatives.

2. Prime Minister Olmert referred to Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes Remembrance Day events that are due to begin this evening. He said that the memory of the Holocaust will be at the top of Israel’s agenda in the coming days and added that the concern with remembering is not detached from concern for the survivors who live among us. Behind the awful collective memory live survivors who carry in their hearts harrowing personal memories and pain. It is the responsibility of the state to see to it that those who survived the Holocaust live in the State of Israel with the proper respect.

3. The Cabinet adopted the interministerial report on efficiency in Government purchases. The Cabinet also directed Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson to coordinate with the Justice Ministry and submit amendments to the 1992 Obligatory Tenders Law to the Socio-Economic Cabinet for approval.

4. The Cabinet decided that Defense Minister Peretz would have overall responsibility for dealing with the home front in various emergency situations (wars, natural disasters, etc.).  This is in addition to those areas for which he is already responsible by law and in accordance with previous Cabinet decisions.

Defense Minister Peretz will consult with the various ministries and other relevant bodies and will oversee the necessary staff work to detail the actions necessary to receive the aforementioned responsibility.  He will submit his recommendations to the Cabinet within 45 days.

5. The Cabinet instructed the Construction and Housing Ministry – in cooperation with the Interior Ministry, the Vice Premier’s Office and all other relevant bodies – to carry out professional staff work regarding the decision to establish a religious community near the intersection of highways #80 and #31.

6. The Cabinet decided to establish an interministerial committee to formulate recommendations on dealing with unsound structures.

7. Pursuant to the 1959 Civil Service Law, the Cabinet approved the appointment of Dr. Shaul Horev as the Director-General of the Atomic Energy Commission , effective 1 September 2007.