Jerusalem, 14 September 1999

Cabinet Communique

(Communicated by Cabinet Secretary)

At the Cabinet meeting today (Tuesday), 14.9.99:

1. The Prime Minister noted the 26th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. He recalled the pain and suffering caused by the war and which still accompany us today.

The Prime Minister noted the circumstances that characterized the government and army’s functioning during the war: the intelligence failure and the pride and heroism of the soldiers and commanders who halted the surprise attack of unprecedented scope and brought about an unprecedented victory.

The Prime Minister recommended that the ministers read the secret sections of the Agranat Report. This was a story of a misreading of reality. We, as the government, must deal with vital political issues. Reading the report can help ministers understand how great their responsibilities are how their decisions and failures can greatly influence future generations, he said.

2. The Prime Minister clearly differentiated between the events of the war and its consequences and between today’s peace process. He noted the daring steps taken by the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres at the Oslo Accords six years ago and the direct connection between it and the Hebron, Wye and Sharm el-Sheikh agreements.

3. The Prime Minister expanded on the beginning of the permanent status talks yesterday at the Erez Checkpoint. He said that these were decisive talks in the run-up to the framework agreement on the permanent settlement. Israel is approaching the negotiations with good intentions on all issues. The Prime Minister briefed the Cabinet on Israel’s positions, including: No return to the 1967 borders; a united Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital; no foreign army west of the Jordan River; most Israeli settlement blocs will remain under Israeli sovereignty. I have instructed the negotiating team in this spirit, he said.

The Foreign Minister then briefed the Cabinet on the opening ceremony, the good atmosphere which prevailed there and the direction for continuing the negotiations.

4. The Cabinet approved the recommendations of the Civil Service Commissioner and the Attorney-General for a special procedure for approving senior appointments by the Cabinet or with its approval. The practice is innovative and will strengthen the position of the civil service. It includes a series of posts that will be filled by tender or by special search committees.

5. The Cabinet approved the recommendations of the Education Minister to recognize the Negev Academic College for Engineering and the Tel Aviv Academic College for Engineering as institutions of higher education. The Prime Minister said that there is a need for the colleges as levers for growth and employment for youths. He noted that the approval of the Negev College is an indicator of the government’s priorities in the Negev.

6. The Cabinet cancelled the emergency regulations issued against the striking local authority workers.

7. The Cabinet approved the annual updating of rental allowances in accordance with the Tenants Protection Law.

8. The Cabinet noted the changes in the composition of ministerial committees.

9. The Cabinet approved the appointment of Nir Gilad as Finance Ministry Accountant-General and congratulated outgoing Accountant-General Shai Talmon.