(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly cabinet meeting today (Sunday, 29 Oct. 2006):

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert noted that the State of Israel will, this week, mark the 11th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin: “We will never forget that day and its abiding significance to the State of Israel and Israeli society.”

2. Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni briefed ministers on security and diplomatic issues.

Defense Minister Peretz reviewed the crisis situation in the Palestinian Authority in terms of the increasing conflict between Hamas and Fatah; Hamas ’s continued strengthening; the warnings of terrorist attacks in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip; the firing of missiles at Israeli territory by Hamas and Islamic Jihad; operations against weapons smuggling; and the arrests of terrorists and potential suicide-bombers, most of whom are affiliated with Hamas.

Peretz briefed ministers on measures to ease the humanitarian situation in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip and noted the relatively quiet olive harvest.

Peretz discussed the northern arena and emphasized the increasing political tension in Lebanon and the overflights by the air force.  He also referred to the Iranian nuclear issue and the situation in Iraq.

Foreign Minister Livni discussed the Laarsen report on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution #1559 and UN Security Council Resolution #1701, the Shabaa Farms and Israeli overflights in Lebanon.

Foreign Minister Livni also briefed ministers on the Iranian issue, the Middle East issue, in the upcoming US mid-term elections, and recent Argentine findings regarding the 18.7.94 bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish community center.

Livni also discussed the cancellation of her planned visit to Qatar.

3. Tourism Minister Yitzhak Herzog briefed ministers on the tourism sector following the crisis that resulted from the war in the North.  He stressed that tourism is a very important economic growth resource due to its significant capacity to create jobs.  Tourism currently employs 80,000-100,000 people, some of them unskilled.

Herzog noted that 2006 has been a record year and has – so far – brought 2.7 million tourists to Israel.  Those employed in the sector have contributed NIS 5 billion to Israel’s GDP.  He contrasted these data to comparable figures for 2002, in which 86,000 tourists came to Israel with a NIS 1.7 billion contribution to the GDP.

Herzog briefed ministers on tourism developments in neighboring countries and on his ministry’s strategic policies regarding tourism development in Israel.

4. The cabinet decided to establish a Ministerial Committee on Policy Regarding Burials.

5. Pursuant to the 1982 Communications Law (Bezeq and Broadcasts) and in accordance with the recommendations of Communications Minister Ariel Atias and the Union of Local Authorities, the cabinet appointed Hannah Kobel as a public representative on the Cable and Satellite Broadcast Council.

6. Pursuant to Article 75 of the 1963 Civil Service Law and subject to the approval of the Knesset Labor Committee, the cabinet decided that the law and its subsequent regulations would apply to Israel Postal Company Ltd. employees.

7. Pursuant to Article 75 of the 1963 Civil Service Law and subject to the approval of the Knesset Health and Social Welfare Committee, the cabinet decided that the law and its subsequent regulations would apply to Bank of Israel employees.

8. Pursuant to the 1959 Civil Service Law, the cabinet allowed the Education Ministry to receive a NIS 250,000 contribution from the Edmund Safra Foundation in order to partially finance costs entailed by hosting citizens and youth at ministry boarding schools during the recent fighting in the North.

9. Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister Eli Yishai raised the issue of ultra-Orthodox education in Israel.  Prime Minister Olmert directed Cabinet Secretary Yisrael Maimon, Minister Meshullam Nahari, Interior Minister Ronnie Bar-On, and the Union of Local Authorities to inquire into the issues raised by Minister Yishai and to coordinate with the Justice and Finance ministries in this regard.