(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, 1 June 2008:

1. In honor of Jerusalem Day (which falls this year on Monday, 2 June – the 28th of the Hebrew month Iyar), the Cabinet hosted Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski and regional council representatives, in the framework of the regional councils’ annual salute to Jerusalem. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said, "We are honored to host Jerusalem Mayor Lupolianski today. It is our tradition that, on the eve of Jerusalem Day, we honor our eternal capital, the city of Jerusalem, and receive a delegation from the State of Israel’s rural communities, who bring us produce from the land in honor of this day."

2. Prime Minister Olmert discussed social and cultural activities in Sderot: "A film festival will open this week in Sderot.  Actors and artists will go there, as will, I hope, Israelis from throughout the country. Cultural and social activities continue to be held in Sderot. The city’s residents and municipal leaders are making a great effort to continue daily life there and not to allow anything to upset or interfere with routine. Last week, I met with mayors from the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip. This was neither an easy nor a simple meeting. I felt the great distress, the pain, the sense of insecurity and, mainly, the expectation that the Government will uphold its commitment to act to  bring about a sense of security for all residents of the south. This obligates us all, and thus we will act."

3. Prime Minister Olmert eulogized former Justice Minister Yosef (Tommy) Lapid, who passed away early this morning: "He was among my closest and dearest friends for decades.  Here, today, I would like to say that Tommy Lapid was a Jew through and through.  True, he never ascribed importance to the ceremonial aspects of Judaism, was even sharply critical of them and, more than once, found himself in confrontations with public and political figures because of his views.

Tommy Lapid was a Holocaust survivor and lived his whole life with a high awareness of the Holocaust, of Jewish history and Jewish destiny and the role of the State of Israel as a Jewish state in the cruel reality of today’s world. It is no wonder that I thought no one better suited to serve as the Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council.  At this moment, I would like to express my profound sorrow and that of the Government of Israel.  I am certain that I speak on behalf of the decisive majority of the residents of the State of Israel, who feel that Tommy Lapid placed his special stamp on public life in the State of Israel as a brilliant journalist and minister.  We will yet find an appropriate way to express the love and appreciation that many feel for him.  At this moment, I embrace his wife and children.  We have lost a dear man, a dear Jew and an irreplaceable friend."

4. The Cabinet discussed the status and place of the city of Jerusalem in the public consciousness and the implementation of its  decision of 13 May 2007 to transfer various national governmental bodies to Jerusalem.  Representatives of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, Prime Minister’s Office Director General Ra’anan Dinur and the Finance Ministry’s Deputy Accountant General for Housing briefed the ministers on the foregoing issues, as well as on internal population movements in Jerusalem since 1967, birthrates, mortality rates and tourism.

5. National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Water and Sewage Authority Director Prof. Uri Shani briefed the Cabinet on various topics regarding the water economy in Israel. 

6. The Cabinet discussed the issue of an official memorial for the late Col. Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut.

The Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority will expand the visitor’s center at the Ramon Park Complex so as to incorporate Col. Ramon’s story.  Ramon Family Fund scholarships will also be increased. 

7. Pursuant to Article 11 of the 1980 Chief Rabbinate Law, the Cabinet approved the appointment of Rabbi David Malka as Chairman of the Chief Rabbinate Council Elections Committee, and the appointments of Avigdor Ohana and Eli Oscusido as Government representatives on the Committee.

8. The Cabinet discussed the establishment of a District Court in Lod.