(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 14 September 2008:

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert referred to recent events in northern Samaria:

“As you know, there was a terrorist attack in Yitzhar in which a terrorist infiltrated the community.  A young boy was wounded and there was an attempt to perpetrate a more serious attack.  This is a very serious thing and our security forces are dealing with these issues and will reach those who were involved and will do what needs to be done, as they do so admirably throughout the year.  However, the residents of Yitzhar responded by assaulting Arab residents in a nearby Palestinian village. They used live weapons and wounded Palestinian residents, even though there was no basis to assume  that these residents were at all connected, whether directly or indirectly, to the terrorist attack in Yitzhar.  This phenomenon of taking the law into one’s own hands, of violent disturbances  by Jews living in communities in Judea and Samaria, whether in recognized communities or in illegal outposts, is intolerable and will be dealt with sharply and harshly by the law enforcement authorities of the State of Israel.

There will be no pogroms against non-Jewish residents in the State of Israel.  We have law enforcement authorities,  we have police,  we have security services, we have a military that knows how to deal with attacks on Jews and to fight terrorists.  There have been incidents in which violence  has been directed against not only those whom the settlers suspect to be terrorists but also against Israeli soldiers and commanders.  This is intolerable and  the security forces in Judea and Samaria have been instructed to act forcefully in order to prevent such events from recurring and to bring those responsible to justice, pure and simple.”

Prime Minister Olmert also referred to Israeli participation in the CERN Large Hadron Collider experiment in Switzerland and noted that he had spoken with Weizmann Institute of Science Prof. Giora Mikenberg. He added, “I was pleased that, in addition to the participation of many Israeli scientists in the experiment itself, many Israeli industries, especially in advanced high-tech, greatly contributed as well.  It seems to me that the disproportionate representation of Israeli scientists and advanced technological inputs attests to our scientific ability and – I quote Prof. Mikenberg – the wisdom of massive investments in research and development, mainly via the Chief Scientist, that we have made in recent years.  Prof. Mikenberg said that he was proud that he could thank the Government for its great contribution, which has enabled the State of Israel’s significant participation in this project."

2. Religious Services Minister Yitzhak Cohen briefed ministers on the activities of his ministry.

3. Vice Premier Haim Ramon briefed ministers on the proposal for the voluntary evacuation of communities in Judea and Samaria that are outside the security fence, and referred to the goals of the proposal, as well as the mapping and identification of the communities to be included in it, estimating the size of the population that will voluntarily relocate and the cost of the compensation.

4. The Government discussed the issue of assistance to Jewish communities around the world in emergency or crisis situations.

“Emergency or crisis situations” are defined as those situations that require special deployment and multi-disciplinary actions in Diaspora Jewish communities and which stem from one of the following: terrorist attacks, military conflict, natural disasters, accidents, anti-Semitism or economic crisis, and which could impair the functioning or normal life of Jewish communities anywhere in the world.

In such cases, the Government and the Jewish Agency will cooperate in assisting Diaspora Jewish communities in emergency or crisis situations and, to this end, will operate a “Jewish Communities Emergency Situation Deployment Forum.”

5. Education Minister Prof. Yuli Tamir briefed ministers on youth movements in Israel.  .

6. The Government discussed the New Horizon education reforms.

7. The Government discussed the situation of the Falash Mura and – following the entry into Israel of 16,095 members of the Falash Mura community – instructed Interior Minister Meir Shetrit to consider the candidacy for entry into Israel of additional members of the Falash Mura community that meet specific criteria. 

8. The Government unanimously approved Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s proposal to upgrade the Government’s working infrastructures regarding planning, control and oversight.  The proposal was formulated by Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Ra’anan Dinur and Cabinet Secretary Oved Yehezkel, through the PMO Division for Coordination, Follow-Up and Control.  The Government ministries directors-general forum, the Finance ministry Budget Division and other senior officials also participated in the process.

The changes are in the spirit of the principles of the OECD, which Israel is seeking to join, and are expected to put the Government of Israel in line with leading organizations in the country and around the world regarding planning and approving decisions, and monitoring their implementation and measuring the achievement of their objectives.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hailed the decision. 

9. The Government discussed the issue of fish farms in the Gulf of Eilat.

10. Pursuant to the 2008 Financing of Expenditures for the Families of POWs and MIAs, the Government established a committee to discuss requests by family members of POWs and MIAs.

11. The Government discussed the implementation of previous decisions regarding the Bedouin sector in the Negev.

12. In accordance with the advice of Prime Minister Olmert, the Government approved a plan to develop the scientific and technological infrastructure of the Negev.