Jerusalem, February 15, 2004

Cabinet Communique
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), February 15, 2004:

1. Construction and Housing Minister Effie Eitam, who also chairs the ministerial committee on earthquake preparedness, briefed ministers on the 5.1 earthquake that took place last Wednesday, February 11, 2004. Minister Eitam said that he and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would oversee the distribution of informational booklets to the general public soon on earthquakes and earthquake preparedness.

The Cabinet will discuss the issue of earthquake preparedness at one of its upcoming meetings.

2. The Cabinet discussed the recommendations of the Ziller commission, which had been appointed on June 29, 2001 to inquire into the issue of the structural safety of public buildings following the May 2001 disaster at the Versailles hall in Jerusalem.

The Cabinet decided to establish a steering committee – to be appointed by Interior Minister Avraham Poraz – to thoroughly study the Ziller commission report, formulate proposals on how to implement its recommendations, prepare a proposal on the resources required to do so, and submit its report back to the Cabinet within six months.

3. The Cabinet discussed Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposals for an across-the-board cut in the state budget. The Cabinet will continue its discussions at its next meeting, at which it will also vote.