(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday:

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert referred to the upcoming Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) holiday: “I hope and believe with all my heart that the coming year will be a good year for the residents of Israel, will lead to continued growth and prosperity, will pave the way to peace and will be one of security and quiet for the State of Israel.  I also pray that Gilad, Udi and Eldad  will return home.  On behalf of the Government, I wish all the residents of Israel a year of realized dreams and all manner of good things.  I wish Muslim residents a happy holiday on the upcoming occasion of Ramadan.  I wish Druze residents a happy holiday on the upcoming Nabi Sabalan holiday.”

2. ISA Director Yuval Diskin briefed ministers on current security events in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.  Prime Minister Olmert said: “IDF ground, air and naval forces – in conjunction with the ISA – are carrying out wide-ranging operations in order to block Gaza Strip-based terrorism. This is a daily struggle that requires sophistication, daring and great resources.  As per the Security Cabinet’s  September 5th decision, we will continue our intensive operations against those involved in terrorism and the launching of rockets. Nobody among those responsible for terrorism will be immune from this activity.”

Prime Minister Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak commended the extraordinary work of the ISA in assisting the IDF and other security forces in the struggle against Palestinian terrorism.

3. Public Security Minister Avi Dichter and Israel Police Inspector-General Dudi Cohen briefed ministers on the war on crime.

4. Social Welfare and Social Services Minister Yitzhak Herzog and National Insurance Institute Director-General Dr. Yigal Ben-Shalom briefed ministers on poverty and income gaps as reflected in the NII 2006 report . Prime Minister Olmert commented: “The data show that for the first time, growth in the number of poor persons in Israel has been blocked and that there has been somewhat of a decline in the number of poor families.  This is not coincidental.  The data show the beginning of the way.  They are the result of directed Government policies, the goal of which is to reduce the number of poor. Three weeks ago, we discussed encouraging data on growth in 2007. My goal is improved growth that will lead to a decline in the number of poor and reduced social gaps.  Correct economic policies, together with sufficient patience, will lead to growth reaching the weaker strata.  The key to overall success also depends on increased employment and we have had considerable success here as well – the number of unemployed is at its lowest in years.  Of course, we want to maintain these trends and this will be accomplished by adopting the Government’s socio-economic agenda.

5. Pursuant to Article 31b of Basic Law: The Government, the Cabinet decided to transfer responsibility for dealing with disputes within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to Minister Rafi Eitan. 

6. The Cabinet transferred Prime Minister Olmert’s responsibilities regarding the Public Advisory Council on Pensioners’ Affairs to Pensioners’ Affairs Minister Rafi Eitan.

7. The Cabinet amended regulations regarding tenants’ protection. 

8. Pursuant to the 1959 Civil Service Law (Appointments) and in accordance with the recommendation of the Civil Service Committee, the Cabinet decided to exempt from public tender the Director of the Negev Bedouin Settlement Authority.