Jerusalem, January 18, 2004

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Presents its Activities and Goals to Government Ministers
(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and senior Foreign Ministry officials briefed the Cabinet on Sunday (18 January) on the main activities of the Foreign Ministry during the past year.

FM Shalom emphasized the Ministry’s contributions to Israel’s national interests in the complex and challenging international arena, which is characterized by more criticism and hostility than in the past, antisemitic incidents and increased Palestinian efforts to move the conflict to the international playing field as a consequence of the failure of terrorism [to achieve their goals].

The Cabinet was in broad agreement over the importance of Foreign Ministry activities and the need to increase the budgets allocated for PR (hasbara), the Center for International Cooperation (MASHAV), and reopening the missions that were closed. There was also a consensus on the importance of strengthening the Foreign Ministry’s Center for Political Research.

The Prime Minister expressed his great admiration for the work of the Foreign Ministry and thanked the Foreign Minister and the heads of the Ministry for their activities in many fields. The Prime Minister noted in particular the political and economic significance of MASHAV’s activities, citing their prime importance among Israel’s activities.

The Foreign Ministry was praised for its contributions to the following goals:

  1. Promotion of the peace process and promotion of Israel’s political and economic status in the world.
  2. Special effort to search for a bridge to the Arab world, led by the Foreign Minister.
  3. Taking advantage of the global fight against terror to reduce the danger of Islamic and Palestinian terror (for example, leading the struggle against MANPADS).
  4. Preventing the proliferation of nonconventional weapons (WMD) and ballistic missiles in our region.

Mr. Shalom described the challenges facing the foreign service in the near future, first and foremost among them being the political-public relations task in preparing for the case of the security fence that will be brought before the International Court in The Hague.