Jerusalem, 26 October 1997


(Communicated by Cabinet Secretary)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday) 26.10.97:

1. The Defense Minister and the IDF Chief-of-Staff briefed the Cabinet on security matters.

2. The Prime Minister updated the Cabinet on the situation in the negotiations with the Palestinians. The Prime Minister announced that the Cabinet will hold a discussion on the negotiations prior to talks that the Foreign Minister may hold in Washington. He said that the Foreign Minister has begun to activate the interim agreement committees. As for the continuation of the process, the Cabinet still stands behind its decision not to hand over additional areas as long as there are no guarantees that these areas will not be used as bases for terrorism. The Palestinian Authority has begun taking measures to fight terrorism, yet in a number of areas there has been a definite retreat in the their activities. This government’s policies have not changed and it continues to insist that the Palestinian side hold to its commitments.

3. The Justice Minister reported to the cabinet on the legislative processes regarding the subject of the Jewish religious services

(Religious Affairs Councils). The Finance Minister reported on the efforts to reach an agreement with the Reform and Conservative Movements, without harming religious principles. At the center of the efforts, is a proposal to reach a time-out in the various legal and legislative processes. The cabinet authorized the inter-ministerial committee on legal matters and law enforcement to accept the decision, if needed, in agreement with the government on the required legislative matters regarding Jewish religious services. Ministers Sharansky and Kahalani reported to the cabinet that their parties would vote for the law if the Reform Movement did not agree to the proposal of dropping its appeals to the High Court of Justice along with postponing the legislative procedures until the end of January.

4. Based on the recommendation of the Minister of Public Security, the cabinet appointed Acting Superintendent Yehuda Wilk to the position of Police Inspector General. The appointment takes effect on 1 January 1998.

5. Based on the recommendation of the Transportation Minister and following consultation with the Minister of Public Security, the cabinet decided to appoint Shmuel Hershkowitz to the position of Director of the National Road Safety Administration.

6. Based on the recommendation of the Deputy Minister of Construction and Housing, the cabinet appointed Shmuel Einstein to Director of Rural Building and New Settlements Administration.

7. The cabinet approved the Customs Cooperation Agreement between Israel and Turkey.

8. The cabinet decided to establish an inter-ministerial committee to handle weather related damages. The committee will immediately deal with the flood damage in the Negev, Jordan Valley and Katif bloc. The committee, headed by the Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office will mainly examine road and infrastructure damage to public buildings and schools in Beer Sheva, and agricultural damage in the Jordan Valley, northern Dead Sea area and in the Katif bloc. The committee will submit its recommendations to the cabinet within 30 days.

9. The Attorney-General briefed the cabinet on his meeting with members of the Investigating Committee on the Disappearance of Yemenite Immigrant Children, in accordance with the cabinet’s decision at its last session.

10. Science and Technology Minister presented before the cabinet a collection of incitement to violence and calls for the murder of the prime minister, and suggested that the cabinet discuss the matter. The minister said that there is a serious escalation in incitement by leftist elements in Israel against the prime minister and the government. At issue is incitement and expressions which have no place in a proper democratic society.