(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 1 April 2007:

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wished the citizens of Israel and the members of the Government a Happy Passover.

2. The Cabinet discussed issues regarding the retirement of civil service employees.

3. The Cabinet decided to allocate NIS 135.15 million for the reinforcement of educational institutions in Sderot and other communities in the area of the Gaza Strip, as per its 25 March 2007 decision. Half of the amount will be transferred in 2007 and half in 2008.  Most school and kindergarten reinforcement projects will be completed by the opening of the next academic year. The remainder will be completed by the end of the fall holidays.

4. The Cabinet approved the plan to build a major cluster of IDF bases at Hanegev junction in the Negev.

5. The Cabinet adopted the recommendations of an interministerial team chaired by Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Director-General Ra’anan Dinur on encouraging agricultural exports and reducing the shortage of foreign workers in the agricultural sector. The team was authorized to increase and allocate the quota of foreign workers in the agricultural sector for 2007-2009 by not more than 3,000 additional workers. The Cabinet also directed Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Shalom Simhon to policy regarding the allocation of foreign workers among the various agricultural sectors and to submit his conclusions to the Cabinet by 31 July 2007.

6. The Cabinet decided, in continuation of its previous decision on the five-year plan to construct classrooms in 2007-2011, to accept the recommendations of the committee chaired by PMO Dir.-Gen. Dinur regarding the allocation of the classrooms among the various sectors.

7. The Cabinet decided to hold a discussion on the adoption of the recommendations of the interministerial tea chaired by Finance Ministry Director-General Yarom Ariav on the issue of Government purchasing. The Cabinet decided to conclude the discussion in two weeks.

8. The Cabinet decided to accept the recommendation of Public Security Minister Avi Dichter and appoint Israel Police Deputy Commissioner Benny Kaniak to succeed Israel Prison Service commissioner Yaacov Ganot as of 15 April 2007 for a period of four years.

9. Pursuant to the 1959 Civil Service Law (Appointments), the Cabinet appointed Shaul Tzemach to succeed Nahum Itskovitch as Director-General of the Tourism Ministry as of 15 April 2007.

10. Pursuant to the 1959 Civil Service Law (Appointments), the Cabinet appointed Nahum Itskovitch to succeed Moshe Shion as the Director-General of the Social Welfare and Services Ministry as of 15 April 2007.

11. Pursuant to the 1959 Civil Service Law (Appointments), the Cabinet appointed Moshe Shilo as Director-General of the Justice Ministry.

12. Pursuant to the 1998 National Parks, Nature Reserves, National Sites and Memorial Sites Law, and in accordance with the recommendation of Environmental Protection Minister Gideon Ezra, the Cabinet appointed three new members of the National Parks, Nature Reserves and National Sites Council.

13. The Cabinet established a Ministerial Committee on Social Welfare and Services, chaired by Social Welfare and Services Minister Yitzhak Herzog. Ministers Avraham Hirchson, Meir Shetrit, Yuli Tamir, Ze’ev Boim, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Eli Yishai, Yaacov Edri, Rafi Eitan and Raleb Majdele will serve on the Committee, which will determine comprehensive principles and policy on social welfare issues, dealing with populations in distress and providing services.