Jerusalem, 11 August 2002

Cabinet Communique
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), August 11, 2002:

1. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon opened the meeting by congratulating Alex Averbukh on his impressive victory in the pole vaulting competition at the European Track & Field Championships taking place in Munich. Prime Minister Sharon noted the symbolism of the victory taking place 30 years after the terrible murder of the Israeli athletes there.

Prime Minister Sharon took leave of departing Minister Raanan Cohen noting that the Minister understood the importance of unity and the national unity government. The Prime Minister thanked him for his efforts in helping to create and maintain the national unity government. Prime Minister Sharon wished Minister Cohen well in his future endeavors.

2. Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer briefed the Cabinet on current security matters noting that 14 Israelis were killed and 90 wounded in Palestinian terror activities this past week.

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer said that in light of the renewed outbreak of terror, the security establishment has taken a series of steps including the cessation of movement in Samaria, tightening of the closure of Jerusalem, and increasing the pressure on Hamas in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The Defense Minister noted the achievements of the security establishment in foiling and preventing terror over the past week during which 25 central terror activists were intercepted and arrested.

In addition, the demolition of houses belonging to terrorists that took part in attacks continued and was increased. There are preliminary signs that this action is creating a certain degree of deterrence. Alongside the operational activities, Israel is investing great effort in the humanitarian field and is searching for every way to facilitate the basic fabric of existence for the population without harming security needs.

3. The Cabinet decided that members of the South Lebanese Army who have been receiving aid from the Immigrant Absorption Ministry, and whose period of eligibility ended on July 31, 2002, will be eligible for living allowances, employment benefits and rent subsidies for the period of August 1, 2002 until March 31, 2003.

4. The Cabinet continued the discussion of political issues begun at last week’s meeting. The discussion was not concluded and will be continued at next week’s Cabinet meeting.