(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 25 JUly 2004:

1. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon congratulated Minister Ilan Shalgi on his appointment as Minister of Science and Technology, and wished him luck in his position.

2. OC Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aharon Zeevi briefed the government on intelligence matter and answered ministers’ questions.

3. The Cabinet marked 50 years since the establishment of the National Insurance Institute.  Welfare Minister Zevulon Orlev and the Director-General of the National Insurance Institute detailed the Institute’s missions, responsibilities and activities since its establishment, and the services it gives to the Israeli population, and emphasized the contribution it has made to Israeli society in general and weaker sectors in particular.

Prime Minister Sharon emphasized the importance of assisting weaker and needy sectors of society.

4. The Cabinet approved the principles of the amended draft 2004 State Loan Law, and authorized the Ministerial Committee on Legislation to bring it to the Knesset immediately.

The amendment will allow financial bodies from Israel and abroad to operate in the primary and secondary markets so as to reduce the Government’s costs of in raising capital and to improve the capital market. Furthermore, it amends the methods by which the government deficit is managed, making it more efficient and cost-effective.

5. The Cabinet approved the following appointments to the Ministerial Committee on Religious Services:

Ministerial Committee:
– Welfare Minister, Zevulun Orlev – Chairman
– Finance Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu
– Internal Affairs Minister Avraham Poraz
– Education, Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat
– Health Minister Dan Naveh
– Minister Natan Sharansky

Committee responsibilities:
– Receiving reports and information, and following up, on assuring religious services in the new ministerial format.
– Interministerial coordination to improve and promote correct provision of religious services.

6. The Cabinet approved, according to Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom’s proposal, the appointments of Ehud Danoch as Consul-General in Los Angeles. Danoch is 35, married, and is a law graduate.  He has been the director of the Foreign Minister’s staff since March 2003.

The cabinet also approved the following appointments:

– Irit Ben-Aba Vitlah, non-resident ambassador to Albania,
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia.  She will reside in Israel.
– Michael Arbel, Ambassador to Nigeria and non-resident ambassador to Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo and Liberia.
– David Akov, Consul-General in San Francisco
– Uriel Palti, Consul-General in Philadelphia.

7. The Cabinet approved the 2004 Communications Law, which will resolve the problem created by cable and satellite companies regarding the secondary broadcasting of foreign channels.

8. The Cabinet decided that the Industry, Trade and Employment Ministry unit dealing with foreign workers will not be transferred to the Interior Ministry Population Authority on 1 Sept 2004, and charged a committee composed of the Directors-General of the aforementioned ministries and the Finance Ministry Budget director with formulating an amended plan for a 1 Jan 2006 transfer.  The plan will include advance goals that must be implemented prior to the transfer. The plan will be submitted for Cabinet approval.

It will be recalled that the Cabinet decided on 4 Apr 2004 to establish a Population and Entry into Israel Authority in the Interior Ministry and transfer to it – inter alia – the abovementioned unit. In inter-ministerial discussions, it arose that the conditions were not yet ripe for the transfer.  Therefore, the Cabinet has decided to postpone the transfer.

9. The Cabinet authorized the Ministerial Committee on Legislation to discuss and approve the draft law on vehicle marking.

The objective of the law – as one of the ways for dealing with car theft – is to mark certain used spare parts and prevent the importation of spare parts from the Palestinian Authority (PA) areas into Israel. 

Following Public Security Ministry staff work on the dimensions of vehicle theft for the purpose of breaking vehicles up into parts and on enforcement data, and in light of the Public Security Ministry decision to unify a special unit that was established to deal with vehicle thefts with the national unit for uncovering serious international crimes, the Cabinet decided to extend the validity of the law without time restrictions regarding those subjects relevant to vehicle theft and related enforcement issues, and that do not have budgetary significance.

According to the draft law, the following obligatory directives will remain within the framework of the law:

– The obligation to register sales of used spare parts by garages or business owners and the obligation to announce thefts of such parts from those who either sell them or who assemble/disassemble them.

– The obligation of every insurer who delivers a car for general disassembly to return the vehicle license to the Licensing authority and the obligation to monitor that repairs on an insured vehicle are carried out with lawfully acquired used parts.

– The ban on using used transportation parts from PA areas  (with said parts being defined as part or accessory used in a vehicle, including spare parts and any product that is part of automotive equipment).

10. The Cabinet discussed the draft 2004 Second Authority for Television and Radio Law (Amendment – Extension of Educational Television Franchise) of MKs Inbal Gavrieli and Ronny Bar-On and decided to support it on condition that the relevant Knesset committee will determine the period for which the Educational Television Franchise will be extended.

Article 37A of the 1990 Second Authority for Television and Radio Law currently restricts the Educational Television franchise period until 31 Oct 2005.  The draft law would ensure the continuation of Educational Television broadcasts as they are today and thus proposes to extend the franchise until 2015.