(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 17 September 2006:

1.  The Cabinet decided:

A. To entrust the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense with the appointment of a Governmental Investigative Committee, in accordance with Article 8A of the 2001 Government Law (hereinafter: the Committee)

B. Following is the composition of the Committee:

Dr. Eliyahu Winograd, Judge (Ret.) – Chairman
Prof. Ruth Gavison
Prof. Yehezkel Dror
Menachem Einan, Major General (Res.)
Dr. Haim Nadel, Major General (Res.)

C. The Committee will investigate, and determine findings and conclusions, and will present recommendations as it sees fit regarding the political echelons and the security system as pertains to the range of aspects of the campaign in the north which began on July 12, 2006, in the following
matters:

The Political Echelons:

The Committee will investigate, and determine findings and conclusions regarding the management of the political echelon as it relates to the management of the campaign in the north that began on July 12, 2006, from the political, military and civilian standpoint.

The Committee will also refer, as it sees fit, to the political echelon regarding its preparedness and readiness leading up to the fighting and threat scenarios since Hizbullah began to entrench itself along the northern border.

The Security Establishment:

The Committee will investigate, and determine findings and conclusions, and will present recommendations as it sees fit regarding the preparedness and management of the security establishment as it relates to the campaign in the north, which began on July 12, 2006, including areas and subjects as follows:

– Preparedness and readiness of the security system vis-a-vis the threat from Lebanon: including intelligence preparedness and the force building and its readiness vis-a-vis various threat scenarios.

– Management of the fighting, operation of forces, including the Home Front Command, and the assistance and support systems during the fighting, including decision-making processes, beginning with the time of the kidnapping of the soldiers on July 12, 2006 through the commencement of the cease fire on August 14, 2006.

D. The Committee will present its findings and conclusions, as well as its recommendations as it sees fit, including in regard to improving the decision-making processes of the political echelon and the heads of the security system in the future, including the material and advice given to the aforesaid officials.

E. Given the essential need for quick preparedness and the drawing of conclusions as soon as possible vis-a-vis the existing threat scenarios faced by the State of Israel, the Committee is requested to present its work report as soon as possible; if the Committee sees fit, it may present an intermediate report or partial report on issues which it considers urgent to the implementation of its conclusions and recommendations.

F. The Committee will present is report or reports to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense, and they will present it to the government. The Committee’s report or reports will be published publicly; the committee may determine instructions regarding the publication of the reports in accordance with the principles set out in Article 20 of the 1968 Commissions of Inquiry Law.

G. The Committee will determine the agenda for its discussions. The Committee’s meetings will be public or closed as determined by the Committee. There will not be a public discussion when it may risk the security of the country or its foreign relations or for any other reason expressed in law.

H. Upon completion of its work, the Committee will entrust the protocols of its discussion and any other material to the State Archives.

I. The Prime Minister and members of the Government, State employees and personnel of the IDF and all branches of the security system will report before the Committee per its request, and will present it with any information or documents they are asked to present.

J. The Committee may engage people who are qualified to gather the material necessary for the Committee’s work and to assist with it.

K. The Ministry of Finance will place at the disposal of the Committee a budgetary framework to hire assistants, in a scope that it determines, in accordance with the needs defined by the Committee. In addition, the Prime Minister’s Office and Government Secretariat will place at the Committee’s disposal all the means needed for it to conduct its work.

L. To confirm, in accordance with Article 8A(a) of the Government Law of 2001, the determination of the Minister of Justice is that the Committee will have the authorities of a Commission of Inquiry as per Articles 9 through 11 and 27(b) of the 1968 Commissions of Inquiry Law.

2. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced that Minister without Portfolio Meshulam Nahari will henceforth serve as Minister in the Finance Ministry and will deal with education and social affairs, as per the agreement with Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson.

3. The Cabinet decided to allocate NIS 2.07 million to the SELA Disengagement Authority for the construction of youth clubs and sports fields at the Yad Binyamin, Amatzia and Ein Tzurim temporary housing sites for Gush Katif evacuees. The Construction and Housing Ministry, SELA Disengagement Authority and/or the relevant regional council will carry out projects.

The Cabinet also decided to allocate NIS 450,000 to the SELA Disengagement Authority and the Construction and Housing Ministry for the establishment of a playground at Ein Tzurim.

4. The Cabinet decided to upgrade waste treatment facilities in the Nahal Sorek Regional Council area.

5. The Cabinet discussed the advancement of employment for Gush Katif and northern Samaria evacuees at Yad Binyamin. The Cabinet decided – in continuation of its previous decisions on the issue – to instruct the Nahal Sorek Regional Council – via the SELA Disengagement Authority – to refurbish a structure at Yad Binyamin for commercial use so as to enable it to house small businesses for the evacuees and – to this end – to budget NIS 1.5 million to the Council.

6. In continuation of its previous decisions regarding the financing of permanent housing at Yesodot, the Cabinet decided to allocate NIS 500,000 for statutory and infrastructure planning for agricultural plots for a group of approximately 40 evacuee farmers who have expressed their desire to move as a group to Yesodot.

7. Prime Minister Olmert extended his greetings for the New Year to the ministers and their families.  On behalf of the government, he extended similar greetings to all residents of the State of Israel – civilians and soldiers – for a peaceful, prosperous and healthy New Year.