The Government marked the 90th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 4 November 2007:

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said: “Today, we mark twelve years since the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Last week, on the Hebrew date, we visited his grave and eulogized him; we remembered and protested with tears. However, it is this November day that will remain forever etched in Israel’s collective consciousness as that awful day, the day of the murder. The entire Israeli people must unite behind the memory and know that it will never happen again. This is the red line that left and right, religious and secular, Jews and non-Jews, must never cross. As for the murderer, I completely identify with Yuval Rabin’s moving remarks from the memorial rally last night. They represent what the entire nation must feel.”

2. Israel Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen briefed ministers about last week’s event in Peki’in. Prime Minister Olmert and the Cabinet gave full backing to the police in their struggle to maintain law and order wherever their intervention is necessary.

3. The Government marked the 90th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. Prime Minister Olmert said:

"Today, the government will mark the 90th anniversary of the 1917 Balfour Declaration. Eight years later, in 1925, Lord Balfour was among those who were present on Mt. Scopus to declare the establishment of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, thus giving additional expression to the international community’s and Great Britain’s commitment to the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel. The Jewish people was then dispersed throughout the world and in the Land of Israel we – as a people – were accustomed to living under the yoke of this or that foreign regime, at that time the Mandatory regime. But the fact is that today, 90 years later, the State of Israel is an undeniable fact.  There is no doubt that the Balfour Declaration was an inseparable part of the decisive steps that enabled the establishment of the Jewish state. What a pity that it was established 31 years after the Declaration and not much sooner – it is likely that our history would be very different."

In accordance with Minister Yitzhak Herzog’s proposal, the Cabinet decided as follows:

"Today, the Government of Israel marks the 90th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. The Balfour Declaration constitutes one of the basic milestones in the establishment of the State of Israel – the right of the Jewish people to a national home. The State of Israel, which will soon celebrate its 60th anniversary, has seen generations of young people who were born into the reality in which the Jewish state is an accomplished fact. We must remind them that there were periods in the not-too-distant past of the Jewish people when the thought of establishing a Jewish state was a kind of dream. Today, when the existence of the State of Israel is not in doubt, me must deliver the message that only commitment and dedication to the Zionist idea will assure the continued existence and growth of the State of Israel as a home for the Jewish people. We must appreciate the importance of the Balfour Declaration."

4. The Government approved the comprehensive plan to assist the needy elderly and Holocaust survivors in Israel.

5. The Government decided to adopt the main points of the recommendations of the steering committee on implementing the recommendations of the Winograd Committee’s interim report on increasing ministers’ knowledge base on diplomatic and security affairs.

Increasing the knowledge base will be carried out via detailed diplomatic and security briefings to the Government and the Ministerial Committee on National Security.

6. The Government discussed the establishment of a database on the allocation of radio frequencies.

7. Pursuant to Article 18 of Basic Law: The President of the State, the Government approved President Shimon Peres ’s state visit to Turkey on 11-13 November 2007.  He will meet with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. He will also attend an economic seminar and meet with Turkish Jewish community leaders.