Jerusalem, 14 May 2000

Cabinet Communique
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 14.5.2000:

1. Prime Minister Ehud Barak distributed copies of Professor Anthony Giddens’ book ‘Third Way: The Renewal of Social Democracy’ to the ministers. The Prime Minister asked his ministerial colleagues to understand Giddens’ thesis as they consider next year’s budget and said that, "This is a new perspective that combines the achievements and tools of a market economy with social attentiveness, compassion and solidarity."

2. In response to a request from Health Minister Shlomo Benizri, Prime Minister Barak announced that he will convene a special discussion on the ongoing doctors’ strike.

3. Regarding the issue of the Arab villages adjacent to Jerusalem, the Prime Minister Barak pointed out that the topic has been on the government’s agenda since it began its term of office.

4. Environment Minister Dahlia Itzik raised the issue of inflammatory posters and propaganda material which have recently been published against the Prime Minister and asked Attorney-General Elyakim Rubinstein to investigate whether they constitute incitement. The Attorney-General replied that any complaint of incitement would be examined to see whether a full investigation was warranted.

5. Most of today’s meeting was devoted to a wide variety of issues related to immigration absorption. Prime Minister Barak summarized the discussion by noting that immigration absorption is one of the Israeli society’s most important issues; he pointed out the exceptional achievements in integration by both the State and the immigrants themselves. However, the Prime Minister also remarked that there are still several urgent problems which must be dealt with, especially professional retraining and housing. He praised the work of Immigration Absorption Minister Yuli Tamir and her ministry staff.

6. Today’s meeting was shorter than anticipated due to the fact that several issues which were due to be discussed today were postponed to future meetings. The aid program for communities along the confrontation line will tentatively be discussed at a special meeting on Wednesday, 17.5.2000 and discussion of the Trans-Israel Highway was postponed to a future meeting due to Environment Minister Itzik’s current contacts with the relevant bodies.