(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), February 29, 2004:

1. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, Defense Ministry Director-General Amos Yaron and senior security establishment officials briefed ministers on the responsibilities assigned to the Defense Ministry in 2003.  The briefing specifically focused on various multi-year technological programs.

Defense Minister Mofaz stated that the Defense Ministry’s priority is to provide a systemic response for the building up of the strength of the IDF; to strengthen the IDF’s warning capabilities, and to increase the security establishment’s qualitative advantage.

The Arrow project was also presented to the Cabinet, and it was noted that the Arrow – the first weapon of its type in the world – was successfully adopted by the Israel Air Force. The system was put into operation in light of the tensions due to the war with Iraq, and was used in conjunction with Israeli and US Patriot missiles. In addition, various features of the Merkava IV tank were presented to the cabinet.

2. The Cabinet – in accordance with the Civil Service Law – decided to allow the Public Security Ministry to accept a charitable donation of up to $7,200,000 for the purchase of equipment for identifying explosives in order to locate suicide terrorists on public transportation.

The equipment will be used by security guards employed to provide security on public transportation, will be installed at those central bus stations which are defined to be at risk and will be installed on selected bus lines.