(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 30 October 2005:

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert – on behalf of the Cabinet – took leave of outgoing National Security Council (NSC) Chairman Giora Eiland and paid tribute to him as, “an outstanding IDF major-general who, as NSC Chairman for the past 2,5 years, was involved in central diplomatic issues, including the disengagement.  On behalf of the entire Cabinet, I would like to thank you for your lengthy service both in the IDF and as NSC Chairman.”

2. Defense Minister Amir Peretz, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni briefed ministers on current security and diplomatic issues.

Defense Minister Peretz and IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Halutz referred to last night’s special IDF operation in the Gaza Strip against Islamic Jihad rocket-launching cells.  At least four Islamic Jihad terrorists were killed; nine additional Palestinians were wounded.  In this context, artillery fire at launch areas in the northern Gaza Strip was resumed Sunday.  They also discussed the foiling of attempted infiltrations from the Gaza Strip and Sinai, operational activities in Judea and Samaria and the recent escalation in the north. Regarding the latter, the manner in which Hizbullah attempted to stop the firing by appealing to a third party underscores both the rapid and painful blows that the IDF inflicted on Hizbullah and the organization’s desire to avoid further escalation. Defense Minister Peretz said that he has instructed the IDF and the security forces to be on alert, especially in order to thwart possible kidnappings.

Foreign Minister Livni briefed ministers on her recent visit to Turkey.

3. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert briefed ministers on his recent visit to the United States and noted that there was a strong degree of agreement on the three main issues on the visit’s agenda – the Iranian issue, policy vis-a-vis the Hamas government and the diplomatic process. On the Iranian issue, there is a common bilateral understanding that Iran cannot be allowed to achieve a non-conventional capability and that Israel cannot be exposed to such a capability. Regarding the Hamas government, the clear American position opposes any cooperation, recognition and granting of assistance.

4. The Cabinet approved various amendments to the draft 2006 state budget and to the draft 2006 Economic Arrangements Law.

5. Pursuant to its authority under the 1959 Civil Service Law (Appointments), the Cabinet decided to appoint Gideon Siterman as Director-General of the Transportation and Road Safety Ministry.

6. Pursuant to its authority under the 1959 Civil Service Law (Appointments), the Cabinet decided to appoint Eitan Broshi as Director-General of the Science, Technology, Culture and Sports Ministry.

7. Pursuant to its authority under the 1965 Broadcasting Authority Law, the Cabinet decided to appoint Motti Shklar as Director-General  of the Israel Broadcasting Authority, effective 1 June 2006.

8. Pursuant to its authority under the 1955 Rabbinical Courts Judges Law, the Cabinet chose Minister Eli Yishai as a member of the Rabbinical Courts Judges Appointments Committee, in addition to Justice Minister Haim Ramon.

9. The Cabinet discussed the establishment of a senior civil service appointments advisory committee.

10. The Cabinet discussed the issue of temporary housing sites for residents of the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria (the implementation of changes in the development and public institution budgets). The Cabinet decided to authorize Construction and Housing Ministry Director-General Aryeh Bar – in coordination with the Finance Ministry Budget Director and the SELA Disengagement Authority – to enact changes in the disengagement budgets designated for infrastructures development and the establishment of public institutions at the temporary housing sites for residents of the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria provided that all projects included in Cabinet decisions are implemented and that there is no deviation from approved budgetary frameworks.