(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 7 September 2008:

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert drew ministers’ attention to an article in The Economist, considered the most important economic weekly in the world, which refers to the Israeli economy as the most successful in the world. The Prime Minister said that, "We know that our economy is successful. The international perspective, when a journal like The Economist presents the Israeli economy as the most successful in the world, is not insignificant. It seems to me that we are entitled to commend Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On, and to all those involved in guiding the economy, for this achievement. I think that this is an exceptional moment. There have been many situations in the past 60 years in which the Israeli economy has been seen as improving. There have also been difficult situations. But never have the most senior, the most authoritative and the most objective international elements, that have never been known for their over-fondness for the State of Israel, crowned the Israeli economy as the most successful in the world."

2. The Cabinet discussed issues regarding determining the length of service for senior public officials.

3. The Cabinet approved draft amendments to Basic Law: The Judiciary.

4. The Cabinet approved procedures for the functioning of the Government during emergencies, effective immediately. The Winograd Committee discussed the Government’s decision-making process in time of war. The Committee members proposed that decision-making procedures be established so as to enable the political leadership to have a full and correct picture of the emergency situation. Former IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Amnon Lipkin-Shahak chaired a steering committee on implementing the recommendations of Winograd Committee’s interim report; the steering committee also recommended that procedures be determined vis-a-vis Government decision-making in times of emergency.Therefore, the National Security Council supervised inter-ministerial staff work on formulating such procedures.

5. The Cabinet discussed extending the temporary residence eligibility for families that were evacuated from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria, and who moved to Yad Hanna and Bat Hadar.

6. The Cabinet discussed the appeal to the High Court of Justice by residents of the eastern Lachish region.

7. Pursuant to the 1972 Tenant Protection Law, the Cabinet approved various tenant protection regulations for 2008.

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Following are excerpts from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:

"We will receive a preliminary briefing today on an important issue, which is at the center of diplomatic issues, and it is the question of relocation-compensation. Lengthy staff work has been carried out by Vice Premier Haim Ramon, in consultation with various Government bodies. We will not bring the issue to a decision today but at a time when serious and continuing diplomatic negotiations are being held, and it should be clear to everyone that they will likely – at some – lead also to the need to make decisions that will entail the relocation of residents from the places in which they live, it would be proper for us to think about its significance and aspects, as well as about other issues. This is what Minister Ramon will present.

More than once it has been claimed in the last year or two that certain matters related to the evacuation from the bloc of communities in the Gaza Strip was not prepared for properly, that there was no forethought and that, as a result, unnecessary suffering was caused to very many people. I assume that, now, some will claim that this is too early. I think that it is good to begin thinking about these issues and to see how we can prepare for them properly. Therefore, we will hear a preliminary briefing on the issue."