(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

1. IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi and the ISA Deputy Director briefed ministers on various security issues including events and security incidents in the Palestinian Authority areas and the situation in the north.

2. Pursuant to the 1998 National Parks, Nature Reserves and National Memorial Sites Law, the Cabinet appointed 16 people to the National Memorial Sites Council.

3. The Cabinet discussed cooperation with foreign countries and companies regarding natural gas, decided to amend its 19 December 2004 decision and instructed that Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry representatives be involved in the search for potential partners.

4. The Cabinet discussed the provision of assistance for maintaining regular aviation links to neighboring countries and decided as follows:

A. In light of the diplomatic and geopolitical interest in providing for regular, continuous and lasting aviation links with neighboring countries that border the State of Israel, peace agreements were signed. Given the need to provide for international aviation links, it has been decided to offer direct financial assistance to Israeli carriers that operate the aforesaid routes.

B. A joint Transportation Ministry, Finance Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office team will determine the economic basis for the assistance to be offered.

C. The assistance will be conditioned on the regular operation of routes on a frequency not less than that which has been determined in bilateral agreements and in accordance with existing custom and actual practice in 2006.

D. The assistance to be offered will be given once, during 2007.

E. To implement the foregoing, the Finance Ministry will set aside a budget to be determined according to 4B above and which will be given to the Transportation Ministry in addition to existing budgets.

5. The Cabinet approved the continued operation of the Kerem Shalom crossing for both people and goods in accordance with the approved budget for land border terminals.

6. Pursuant to the 1959 Civil Service Law (Appointments) and according to the recommendation of the Civil Service committee, the Cabinet decided to exempt from public tender those responsible for ministers’ security details.