The Cabinet held its weekly meeting today at Beit Shearim National Park, in the context of the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority’s "Love of Nature, Water and the Environment Week" for 2008.

 Cabinet holds weekly meeting at Beit Shearim National Park

 

Photo: GPO

The Cabinet held its weekly meeting today at Beit Shearim National Park, in the context of the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority’s "Love of Nature, Water and the Environment Week" for 2008. Ministers discussed a national program for encouraging leisure culture in nature and a plan for encouraging cycling.
 
Prime Minister Olmert said – inter alia – that, "Every week, the cabinet considers serious issues in the diplomatic, security and economic spheres, the goal of which is to improve life in Israel. Environmental and nature issues certainly need to be included in this category and must not  be pushed off the national agenda. By coming here today and by placing the issue of protecting the environment atop this meeting’s agenda, we certainly hope pave the way to a more intensive and focused way of dealing with green issues, which directly influence our lives, no less than the other issues that we discuss every Sunday."
 
Ministers were briefed on current archaeological issues.  Ministers Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, Shalom Simhon, Shaul Mofaz, Yaakov Ben-Yizri, Yaakov Edry, Meir Shetrit, Ronnie Bar-On, Raleb Majdele and Ruhama Avraham briefed their colleagues on their respective ministries’ relevant issues.

Following are excerpts from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting today at Beit Shearim National Park:
 
"I hope that you have become accustomed to the new Cabinet room. I must say that this is very impressive and very moving. We have deviated from our norm and, for once, have left our usual place in Jerusalem in order to here mark the beginning of the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority’s "Love of Nature, Water and the Environment Week" for 2008. We thought that there was no better, different and more appropriate way to give expression to our love for nature. Perhaps via this special event, we can tell all residents of the State of Israel that we very much love our country, its vistas and its natural environment, and that we are obliged to make a supreme effort  in their regard. We want to strengthen and promote leisure and recreation throughout the year so that hundreds of thousands of residents of the State of Israel will want to hike through and visit our country’s beautiful places. As the Government, it is our responsibility to improve these places accordingly.
 
Today, we will approve a decision to upgrade dozens of camping sites, as well as facilities for popular sports.
 
I would like to thank all elements that will be party to this effort, especially the Environmental Protection Ministry, the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Jewish National Fund. Several ministers, including Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, received leave from me to be absent today in order that they might meet with US Secretary of State Dr. Condoleeza Rice, but I am pleased to see so many ministers here, as well as Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Ra’anan Dinur, who has done so much to put the aforementioned issues on our national agenda."