(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 12 September 2004:

1. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon spoke about the recent incitement and threats against IDF officers and the security establishment and said:

“Recently – even though it didn’t start recently – we have seen a severe campaign of incitement, with intentional calls for civil war.

I see this as very serious.  I think that the threats on IDF officers and security establishment personnel are a very grave phenomenon.  Leave the IDF out of it.  They cannot be threatened or incited against.

I now want to appeal to the Defense Minister and the Public Security Minister and all of you, because not many voices have been heard, even from within the Cabinet, on this issue.  I call on you – even those of you not directly charged with the matter – to take all necessary measures: raise your voices and take the IDF and the security forces out of this ugly game.

I expect that government ministers will make their voices heard on this issue.  The phenomenon must stop.  Of course, it didn’t start with settlers. Such voices are – to my regret – also heard from other areas, but it is no less serious.

I again call on all of you – of course on settlers as well, those among them who are involved in this incitement – to stop this immediately.  There may be disagreements and this is legitimate but leave the security establishment out of the matter.”

2. The Cabinet approved the appointment of MK Jacob Edery as Deputy Minister of Public Security.

Basic Law: The Government specifies that the tenure of a deputy minister ends when the minister who appointed him/her ceases to serve as the minister in charge of the ministry concerned.  MK Edery’s tenure as Deputy Minister of Public Security was terminated when Minister Tzahi Hanegbi became Minister Without Portfolio.  Thus, the Cabinet has reappointed MK Edery as Deputy Minister of Public Security.

3. Ministers were briefed on the conclusions of the international committee of experts that examined the issue of fish farms in the Gulf of Eilat. Ministers were also informed of the relevant recommendations of the Attorney General and the Environment, National Infrastructures and Agriculture and Rural Development ministries.

Prime Minister Sharon made it clear that in accordance with the Attorney General’s guidelines, no decision would be made today, and that ministers would be asked to consider the relevant considerations – including those of the National Planning and Construction Council – on the issue.  The Prime Minister decided that the Cabinet would discuss the matter again and render a decision within a few weeks.

4. The Cabinet instructed Education, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Science and Technology Minister Ilan Shalgi to – within two weeks – establish a public committee to consider the various aspects regarding the issue of university and college tuition, with the goal of channeling resources in order to strengthen the higher education system and assist students, within the framework of the relevant sections of the 2005 budget.  This includes:

* Recommending tuition ceilings for bachelor’s and master’s degree programs at state-budgeted institutions of higher learning, beginning with the 2005-2006 academic year, while considering how to both boost assistance to students from lower socio-economic strata and reward academic excellence.

* Consideration of enacting differential tuition for bachelor’s and master’s degree programs at state-budgeted institutions of higher learning, based on both socio-economic factors and the costs of the various fields of study.

* Consideration of how to encourage use of long-term tuition loans.

The committee will report back to the Cabinet no later than 5 April 2005.

The committee will be composed of representatives from the public, the Planning and Budget Committee, university heads, the Student Association, the colleges, and discharged soldiers, as well as from the ministries of Finance, Science and Technology and Immigration Absorption, and the Prime Minister’s Office.

5. Education, Culture and Sports Minister Livnat briefed ministers on the educational system in Lod.

6. Interior Minister Avraham Poraz briefed ministers on the local authorities situation vis-a-vis negotiations over local authority employee salaries.