(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that the government was committed to continue seeing to the security of Israel, in every sense of the word, where budgetary issues are concerned, and added that the government was also committed to championing social issues.  He said that the government needs to find the proper balance between these two important goals, taking into consideration Israel’s economic situation.

2. Prime Minister Olmert commented on the inauguration of Shimon Peres as Israel’s ninth president and paid tribute to him. He said (inter alia):

"This is a great day for the State of Israel. This is an important day in our public life. Today, one of the most prominent people in the history of the state of Israel will take office as president. For the past 60 years, he has been involved in almost every decisive issue that the State of Israel has had to deal with. No one is more accepted than him throughout the world as a representative of the State of Israel. It might be said of him that he is one of the most prominent people in the entire world. He is regarded in a way that reflects on the entire State of Israel. It is an honor for the State of Israel that Shimon Peres is its President. Today, the eyes of the whole world are on Jerusalem, on the ceremony in which Shimon Peres will be inaugurated as president. The entire government will accompany him with great support, great admiration and great pride."

3. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Shalom Simhon conveyed to the government the appreciation of farmers from Metulla and the northern communities for the way in which the government has dealt with them since the end of the second Lebanon War.

4. Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On, Finance Ministry Director-General Yarom Ariav, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer and Prime Minister Olmert’s Economic Adviser briefed ministers on the state of the economy and on the macro-economic forecasts in preparation for the discussions on the 2008 state budget. The government will continue its discussions of budgetary issues prior to approval of the 2008 state budget, by late July-early August.

5. The government decided to establish a new department within the Construction and Housing Ministry – the Bedouin Negev Settlement Authority.

6. Following previous decisions concerning individual farms, the Cabinet established an interministerial committee, chaired by Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Director-General Ra’anan Dinur, to define the status of existing individual farms in the Negev and the Galilee and to recommend procedures for establishing additional individual farms. The committee will submit its recommendations to the Cabinet within 60 days.

7. At the suggestion of Prime Minister Olmert, the Cabinet appointed a committee of ministry directors general – to be chaired by PMO Dir.Gen. Dinur and composed of his counterparts from the Finance and Industry, Trade and Labor Ministries – to inquire into the issue of price-controlled bread and to submit its recommendations within one week to Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai and Finance Minister Bar-On.

8. The Cabinet discussed the project to promote exports by encouraging employment in national priority areas. The Cabinet amended a previous decision on the issue and transferred NIS 20 million from one project to another.

9. The Cabinet discussed assisting the provision of religious services in Sderot and the Sdot Hanegev Regional Council.

10. The Cabinet approved various amendments to the National Insurance Law.

11. The Cabinet approved draft legislation designed to protect the public against sex offenders.

12. The Cabinet appointed three members to the Airports Authority.

13. The Cabinet appointed Minister Rafi Eitan to chair the Ministerial Committee regarding the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem.

14. The Cabinet decided that Minister Ruhama Avraham would join the Ministerial Council on Legislation and Law Enforcement.