(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, 10 February 2008:

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert referred to recent events in Sderot and the other communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip: “Sderot and the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip were attacked over the weekend with dozens of missiles and rockets. This assault came – among other reasons – in response to very aggressive, vigorous and comprehensive action by the IDF and the security forces, which killed and wounded many Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorists. In recent months, approximately 200 terrorists have been killed in the Gaza Strip, and hundreds of others have been wounded, as a result of initiated, aggressive, planned and comprehensive activity by the IDF and the ISA. Naturally, we cannot be oblivious to the sense of distress in Sderot and the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip, especially in light of the severe wounding of the Twito brothers. We send them our wishes for a quick recovery and embrace the members of their family.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi visited Sderot this morning in order to observe events  in the city first-hand following this assault. There is no doubt that the pain is felt by all; the outrage is natural. But it must be clear that outrage is not a plan for action. We must act in a systematic and orderly fashion over time. This is what we are doing. This is what we will continue to do. We will continue to reach all the responsible terrorists including those who dispatch and operate them. We will not give anyone special consideration. We will do this in order to reduce the danger and alleviate the pressure and distress that is affecting the residents of Sderot and the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip so severely. This morning, Defense Minister Barak and I consulted with security and IDF elements about the measures we need to take regarding both assistance to the population and structural reinforcement.”

2. Defense Minister Barak briefed the ministers on current security matters, including actions against Palestinian terrorists.

3. National Security Council Acting Chairman Danny Arditi presented the ministers with the recommendations of the Winograd Committee’s final report. Prime Minister Olmert commented, “This is a serious and comprehensive report in which many components were considered with great care. The report will be dealt with accordingly, in a fundamental and serious fashion. The Government will yet devote much time in order to verify that the lessons are being learned and that whatever needs correcting will indeed be corrected.” 

Following a discussion, it was decided to adopt the main points of the report and to work towards quickly implementing its recommendations. The ministerial committee that was established to monitor the process of implementing the recommendations of the Winograd Committee’s interim report will consider how to implement the recommendations of the final report and will report to the full Cabinet on an ongoing basis. The National Security Council will serve as the staff body for the ministerial committee. The Cabinet thanked the members of the Winograd Committee and expressed its appreciation for their comprehensive and fundamental work in formulating the Committee’s final report. 

4. Prime Minister’s Office Director General Ra’anan Dinur, Immigrant Absorption Minister Yaakov Edri and Prime Minister’s Office Planning Division Director Farauer briefed the ministers on a five-year plan to improve the absorption and integration of Ethiopian immigrants.

5. The Cabinet discussed various issues related to the cost of the basket of health services for 2008-2010.

6. The Cabinet requested that the Knesset discuss draft amendments to legislation on housing investment insurance.

7. Pursuant to the 1959 Civil Service Law (Appointments), the Cabinet decided to extend the appointment of Yehuda Nasrdishi as Acting Director of the Israel Tax Authority for an additional four months or until a permanent director (or directors) is (are) appointed, whichever comes first.