Jerusalem, 3 November 2002

Cabinet Communique
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), November 3, 2002:

1. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon notified the Cabinet of his decision to appoint Lt.-Gen. (res.) Shaul Mofaz as Defense Minister. Prime Minister Sharon said that Shaul Mofaz dedicated many years of his life to service in the IDF for the security of the State of Israel, and was an excellent Chief-of-Staff. The Prime Minister added that he is convinced that Shaul Mofaz will fulfil his position successfully. Prime Minister Sharon said that he intends to bring Mofaz’s appointment to the Knesset for approval, tomorrow. He added that he spoke to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and offered him the position of Foreign Minister. Prime Minister Sharon and Mr. Netanyahu will meet again today. Prime Minister Sharon commented that bringing Benjamin Netanyahu into the government and using his talents in the struggle we currently find ourselves in, will add important strength to the challenges before us.

2. Prime Minister Sharon commented on the statement of the Belgian Ambassador to Israel as they appeared in the media. Prime Minister Sharon instructed the Cabinet Secretary to summon the Belgian Ambassador to a meeting in order to clarify the latter’s statements.

3. Prime Minister Sharon stated that – under the authority given him in Basic Law: The Government – he will transfer areas of activity from the Foreign Ministry to the Prime Minister’s Office. These activities include those which had been under the auspices of Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Melchior, and which had been transferred from the Prime Minister’s Office to the Foreign Ministry at the beginning of Prime Minister Sharon’s tenure.

4. The Cabinet accepted Prime Minister Sharon’s proposal to widen the number of immigrants eligible for a benefits basket, to all immigrants, wherever they have emigated from. Anyone who receives new immigrant status after December 1, 2002 will be entitled to this grant.