(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 6 March 2005:

1. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made the following remarks:

“Max Fisher, former Chairman of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors, passed away last Thursday in Detroit, at the age of 96.  Max Fisher served in all of the key positions in the Jewish world and won countless awards and citations for his wide-ranging activities in the US and in Israel on behalf of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.  He played a decisive role in the Jewish Agency’s decision to set immigration to Israel at the top of its agenda after the gates of [the former] Soviet Union were opened. To a large degree, it is due to Max Fisher’s activism that approximately one million new immigrants came to Israel from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union in the 1990s. The State of Israel has lost a true friend, who was one of its greatest supporters. On my behalf and that of the government, I would like to express condolences to Max Fisher’s family, to the Jewish Agency, and to the American Jewish community.”

2. The cabinet marked International Women’s Day.  Prime Minister Sharon made the following remarks:

 “This week we will all mark International Women’s Day.  I see this issue as very important.  My government is greatly interested in increasing the involvement of women in all areas of society.  I am proud of the fact that my government is the first in the history of the state in which one-quarter of ministry directors-general are women.  But this datum is not enough and we must reach the day when one-quarter of the directors-general are men.”

Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women Director Yehudit Plotkin briefed ministers on the main issues related to the status of women in Israel in general, and the status of women in the Civil Service and the public sector in particular.

Director Plotkin discussed the challenges facing the authority and the steps that were taken in 2004-2005, including a far-reaching study designed to identify the main needs of Israeli women who receive services from public institutions. The main challenge facing Israeli women is reducing the gaps between the advanced legislation and the actual situation on the ground. Director Plotkin also discussed issues regarding the employment of women and
the main obstacles that women face in the workplace.

Education, Culture, and Sports Minister Limor Livnat briefed ministers on her participation at the head of the Israeli delegation to the 49th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, and on the activity of the Israeli delegation.  Minister Livnat also commented on the status of women in Israel, especially in the Civil Service.

Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra and the Director of the Israel Police Family Violence Dept. briefed ministers on the issue of family violence. They discussed the unique characteristics of this type of criminal behavior and detailed the Israel Police’s struggle against it.

3. Prime Minister Sharon referred to the growing number of traffic accidents and noted that the phenomenon is assuming terrible proportions: "Words are insufficient; action must be taken in order to prevent traffic accidents."

Transportation Minister Meir Shetrit and Minister Ezra briefed ministers on various relevant issues, including both legislative
activity and actions by the Israel Police and the Transportation Ministry to improve the situation.

Minister Shetrit noted that during April-May, the committee chaired by Dr, Yaacov Sheinan is due to finish its work and present its
conclusions, which will be submitted to the cabinet.

4. The cabinet decided to authorize the Public Works Department (Ma’atz) as a body acting on behalf of the state, in accordance with the 1965 Planning and Construction Law, regarding those inter-city highways listed in National Blueprint #3, and in regard to those roads which were cared for by Ma’atz when it was a unit within the Transportation Ministry and which are not listed in National Blueprint #3, and for which no other body has been specified.  The cabinet has also authorized the department as a body acting on
behalf of the state in accordance with Article 119b of the aforesaid law.

5. The cabinet approved the cooperation agreement between the Israel Securities Authority and its Dutch counterpart and authorized ISA Director Moshe Tery to sign the agreement.

In light of the increasing international cooperation vis-a-vis the
oversight, implementation, and enforcement of securities laws, it is
important that the ISA be involved in the global oversight and enforcement network via – inter alia – signing cooperation agreements with its foreign counterparts.

6. The cabinet, in accordance with the 1993 Bank Shares Arrangement (Emergency Regulations) Law, decided to appoint Prof. Marshal Sarenat and Nahman Ratner as members of the public commission responsible for appointing shares committees for each bank in the arrangement, for formulating lists of candidates for the banks’ boards of directors and for carrying out other functions specified in the aforementioned law.

The aforementioned law regulates the state’s shares in the banks in the arrangement and the use of the voting rights stemming therefrom in such a way that will allow the government to sell the shares under such conditions as it sees fit and to prevent government involvement in the daily management of the banks.

7. The cabinet directed Communications Minister Dalia Itzik to extend the tenure of the Second Authority for Television and Radio Council until 15.7.05.

8. Minister Itzik discussed the recent anti-Semitic remarks by London Mayor Ken Livingstone against both Israel and Prime Minister Sharon. As per Minister Itzik’s proposal, the cabinet decided to express its outrage over London Mayor Livingstone’s attacks against Israel and Prime Minister Sharon.