(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 30 December 2007:

1. Prime Minister Olmert paid tribute to and eulogized Cpl. Ahikam Amihai and Sgt. David Rubin, who were murdered by Palestinian terrorists on Friday, 28 December 2007, near Halhoul, not far from Hebron:

"This incident, perhaps more than any other, again highlights what the State of Israel has been saying throughout the diplomatic process between us and the Palestinians. As long as the Palestinian Authority (PA) does not take the necessary measures, with the necessary strength, in order to act against the terrorist organizations, the State of Israel will be unable to carry out any changes on the ground that could expose it to dangers and create problems for the security of the country, both for the Jewish residents in the areas in which they live and in any other area. We do not intend to compromise on these issues and they will certainly be an inseparable part of any dialogue that we hold with the PA. The Government of Israel sends its condolences to the bereaved families and salutes the heroism of the two soldiers, who fought bravely for their lives even when caught by total surprise."

Prime Minister Olmert also said: “On Thursday, opposition leader – and former Prime Minister – Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Pakistan. She believed in the values of freedom and democracy, struggled for them in Pakistan, returned to her country to take part in democratic elections and – in the end – fell victim to extremist-fundamentalist Islamic terrorism of the kind that we know all too well in our own region. This phenomenon of eliminating pro-democratic leaders who are struggling for democracy and progress against the values of intolerant fanaticism is one that we must condemn; we must give support to those countries that are fighting against it. Thus we have done in the past and thus the State of Israel must do now. We bow our heads in memory of Benazir Bhutto, who fought for freedom.”

2. The Cabinet discussed the appointment of members to the public committee that is responsible for earmarking inheritances willed to the State of Israel.

3. The Cabinet approved the draft 2007 Security Services Law (Restrictions on Mobilizing Reserve Officers; amendment #6), authorized the Ministerial Committee on Legislation and Law Enforcement to submit the final version to the Knesset, and – in keeping with Knesset bylaws – requested that the Knesset consider the bill forthwith.

4. The Cabinet approved additional amendments to the 2007 draft Security Services Law regarding – inter alia – reinforcing the Israel Police and Border Police with IDF reservists, authorized the Ministerial Committee on Legislation and Law Enforcement to submit the final version to the Knesset, and – in keeping with Knesset bylaws – requested that the Knesset consider the bill forthwith.

5. The Cabinet discussed reinforcing vital enterprises and factories in time of emergency.

6. The Cabinet decided to cancel its 12 August 2007 decision regarding support for religious institutions for students who are Israeli citizens only beginning with the current academic year, and changing the levels of support for single and married yeshiva students.

7. Pursuant to the 1959 Civil Service Law, the Cabinet approved the appointment of Yehuda Becher as Director of the Negev Bedouin Settlement Authority.

8. The Cabinet discussed postponing the awarding of an extra civil service grade to tenured civil service employees upon their retirement.