(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, 3 February 2008:

1. Prime Minister Olmert said: “Last Wednesday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and I received the Winograd Committee report.  The report includes both open and classified sections.  This is a difficult and complex report that attests to very problematic areas in the functioning of Israeli society and in our political leadership and defense establishment, along with unusual revelations that attest to heroism, daring, the splendid fighting and uncommon courage of individuals and units, which have always characterized the IDF and Israel’s fighters, during the recent war in Lebanon as well. 

The report is not a source of joy; there was none anywhere, certainly not with me.  It is an opportunity to correct things which were revealed, to improve them, to rebuild where necessary and to lead the State of Israel forward so that it will be properly prepared in all security, social and diplomatic areas to deal with the challenges that it must face. 

When I received the report, I directed that there be an orderly process for drawing lessons in both the public and political arenas.  From the first day after the cessation of fighting, the IDF – under the leadership of then IDF Chief of Staff, Lt.Gen. Dan Halutz, and then Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and with greater impetus under their respective successors – began to study the mistakes and prepare the defense establishment so that it could properly deal with the missions with which it is charged.  We have complete confidence in the ability of the defense establishment, under the leadership of Defense Minister Ehud Barak and under the command of IDF Chief of Staff Lt.Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi, to properly deal with the problems that have arisen and to prepare the IDF for any challenge and any future threat scenario. 

Naturally, the Cabinet will discuss the report.  The bodies subject to the Cabinet and to Defense Minister Barak will be instructed to deal with whatever is necessary so that we will be able to present the lessons, which are fitting for the State of Israel to commit to.  As the report clearly states: There were achievements alongside the failures and important successes for the State of Israel alongside the failures.  We must neither exaggerate the achievements nor understate the failures.  Rather, we must treat them with all due seriousness and gravity. We must constantly remember that there are those who paid an unbearably heavy personal price that they will have to live with always.”

2. ISA Director Yuval Diskin briefed ministers on current security matters, including the situation along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

3. The Cabinet discussed the issue of youth at risk and decided that the relevant Social Welfare and Social Services Ministry budget for 2008-2013 will be NIS 255 million. 

4. The Cabinet decided to proceed with the establishment of a new religious community in the Nahal Iron area. 

5. The Cabinet discussed the issue of foreign workers in the agriculture sector. 

6. Pursuant to the 1959 Civil Service Law (Appointments), the Cabinet appointed Orly Yehezkel as Director-General of the Negev and Galilee Development Ministry.

7. The Cabinet approved several Foreign Ministry appointments.

8. Pursuant to the 1959 Civil Service Law (Appointments) and in accordance with Defense Minister Barak’s recommendation, the Cabinet appointed Avi Becher as Acting Chairman of the Defense Ministry National Emergency Board.

9. The Cabinet decided to oppose MK Alex Miller’s draft legislation on integrating new immigrants in the education system.

10. The Cabinet approved draft legislation on stepping up the enforcement of labor laws and authorized the Ministerial Committee on Legislation and Law Enforcement to approve the final draft.