(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 14.09.97:
1. The Cabinet decided to budget NIS 120 million for the war on unemployment. The funds will be used to reduce unemployment in peripheral areas.
The Prime Minister insisted that the Cabinet take the decision, emphasizing that the decision is crucial in the struggle to reduce concentrations of unemployment in the periphery. The measures to be implemented include:
Providing of professional training, completing primary education, replacing foreign workers, aid to small businesses, subsidizing employees transportation, etc. The Cabinet adopted the recommendation of the Director-Generals’ report on handling unemployment.
The Director-Generals’ report recommended focusing on efforts to reduce the level of unemployment in the development areas to the level in the center of the country.
Three regional anti-unemployment action teams will also be set up in, based on the unemployment foci map, the western Negev, eastern Negev and Northern Israel.
2. The Cabinet was briefed by the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs and his staff on the ministry’s activities.
3. The Cabinet confirmed the establishment of a ministerial committee regarding debts owed to Israelis from residents of the territories, to be headed by the Justice Minister.
4. The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister briefed the Cabinet on the visit of US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
The Prime Minister said the visit focused on the question of the fight against terrorism by the Palestinians, as a result of which an agreement was reached between the US and Palestinians regarding a plan to fight the terrorist infrastructure and to prevent the release of terrorists under the "revolving door" method. It was agreed to continue the discussions at the American-Israeli meeting and later at the American-Palestinian meeting regarding the nature of continuing the process. In addition, a meeting will be held between US Secretary of State and Foreign Minister David Levy and with Abu- Mazen during the UN Assembly session in New York.
The Prime Minister emphasized that Israel has no desire for violence with the Palestinians, but wishes for continued progress while demanding that they carry out their security obligations.
During the meetings with the American Secretary of State, Israel’s position was also presented, according to which the principle of reciprocity must be kept between the war against terrorism and the continuation of the peace process. At these meetings with Ms. Albright, the issue of the development of non-conventional arms by Iran and the necessity of preventing assistance to that coutry in this area was also raised.
The Foreign Minister said that given the current situation, in which the Palestinian Authority is not doing its share, we have the right and duty to demand that the Palestinian Authority fulfill its part, but must remember that if they do so, we are obligated to continue the peace process.
5. The Cabinet was given a security briefing by the Defense Minister, Chief-of-Staff, GSS head and Head of Military Intelligence.