(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, 27 January 2008:

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made the following remarks:

“Today, January 27, the day on which Auschwitz – which is so identified in the world’s consciousness with the Holocaust and the annihilation of the Jews – was liberated, the world marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Knesset will hold a special discussion tomorrow.  Naturally, each of us will be preoccupied with his or her thoughts and with questions that, to this day, have not received answers that it is possible to live with.  Each one of us asks himself what US President George Bush asked when he visited Yad Vashem with us two weeks ago – Why weren’t the railways bombed?  Why wasn’t existing international strength used to slow the pace of destruction?

When we marked Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes Remembrance Day some months ago, very harsh pictures were published of Jewish Holocaust survivors looking in garbage cans for something to eat.  We all felt very bad.  It seems to me that we can note that ours is the first Government in the history of the State of Israel that decided to allocate unprecedented resources so that no Holocaust survivor need worry about an honorable existence.  In recent weeks, as we promised, thousands of Holocaust survivors received significant funds as part of the Government’s commitment.  We said that it would be underway by early 2008 and it is.  I thank all ministers who were party to this decision.  Now we may look Holocaust survivors in the eye and say that the Government of Israel has done this minimum for them.

Today is also Israel’s Day to Combat Anti-Semitism.  The Government of Israel monitors displays of anti-Semitism around the world and the steps necessary to deal with the phenomenon.”

2. Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Public Security Minister Avi Dichter briefed ministers on current security matters, including the situation on the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip and the recent terrorist attacks in the Jerusalem area.

3. Minister Yitzhak Herzog (who is responsible for Diaspora affairs and the struggle against anti-Semitism), Jewish Agency Chairman Zeev Bielski and Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev briefed ministers on International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the Day to Combat Anti-Semitism. 

4. The Cabinet was briefed on frost damage and Israel’s water economy. Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai briefed ministers on his recent visit to China in order to strengthen bilateral economic ties.

5. The Cabinet discussed the plan to reduce the number of students per classroom. 

6.   Prime Minister Olmert hailed the Israeli tennis duo of Andy Ram and Yonatan Ehrlich for winning the Men’s Doubles at the Australian Open.

7. The Cabinet discussed the issue of encouraging structural reinforcement against earthquakes. 

8. The Cabinet approved draft amendments to the National Insurance Law and authorized the Ministerial Committee on Legislation and Law Enforcement to approve the final version ahead of its submission to the Knesset. 

9. The Cabinet discussed budgeting for regional religious councils in 2008.

10. The Cabinet discussed the rate of the State’s participation in Israeli airline companies’ security costs. 

11. The Cabinet discussed amendments to the 2002 Natural Gas Law. 

12. The Cabinet approved draft legislation to extend the tenure of the current Chief Rabbinate Council.