"This is the first Cabinet meeting since last Tuesday’s elections.  Naturally, the political situation needs to develop further ahead of the formation of a new Government and this is an issue that I do not intend to deal with.  From now on this Government will act as is obligatory given the new political reality and the results that this political reality has created.  In making decisions, we will need to consider this reality.  It seems to me that this is natural and stems from the fact that until last Tuesday, although we were in an elections campaign, we had a Government that enjoyed a stable parliamentary majority and acted in accordance with the authority obtained thereby.  As of last Tuesday, the Government’s action will be linked to the new political reality and it is this reality that we will take into account and refer to.  We hope that a Government will be formed as soon as possible.  I hope that this Government will be able to continue leading the State of Israel toward achieving the goals that the State of Israel believes in and desires.

In May of this year, Israel will receive a special visitor, Pope Benedict XVI.  President Shimon Peres will escort him as he visits various sites around the country and the Prime Minister’s Office, as was done during the tenure of Prime Minister Ehud Barak, will organize the visit in all its aspects.  I will ask today that the Government appoint Vice Premier Haim Ramon to be responsible for organizing the visit, as he successfully did last time.  PMO Director-General Ra’anan Dinur will chair an inter-ministerial team to coordinate preparations for the visit.  Naturally, we very much hope that the visit will be held in an appropriate atmosphere and will be as successful as Pope John Paul II’s was.  A Papal visit to the Holy Land is always an exceptionally significant event and we hope that it will be this time as well."

Prime Minister Olmert also discussed his visit last Thursday, 12.2.09, to the new national telephone center in Givatayim, which the approximately 250,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel may utilize to receive information about their rights, and noted (inter alia) that it, "marks the final stage in the unprecedented effort that the Government has made over the past two years to assist Holocaust survivors whose needs no Israeli government, for 60 years, looked after."