Jerusalem, 19 January 2003

Cabinet Communique
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), January 19, 2003:

1. Israel Police Commissioner Shlomo Aharonishky briefed ministers on police preparations for next week’s elections and discussed public safety issues and ensuring order at polling stations.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz briefed ministers on preparations for a possible US attack on Iraq and ongoing security issues, and discussed both terror attacks that have been perpetrated recently and those which were thwarted by the security forces recently.

Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the various diplomatic aspects of a possible US attack on Iraq.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stated that Israeli citizens should remain calm and carry on their daily routines. The likelihood that Israel will be attacked as a result of a possible US attack on Iraq is low. Prime Minister Sharon emphasized that Israel will take all necessary steps to prepare for any situation. The IDF, the security services, the home front and all other relevant bodies are prepared for every eventuality.

2. The Cabinet approved the implementation of a 2003 emergency plan to prevent human exposure to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (i.e. "mad cow disease"), as prepared by the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry Veterinary Services.