(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Tuesday), 10 June 2008:

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert briefed ministers on his recent visit to the US, including his meetings with US President George Bush and senior administration officials. The Prime Minister noted that the meetings were serious, substantive and detailed, on a range of issues, and added that these were very important meetings that dealt with strategic issues affecting the future and security of the State of Israel.

The Prime Minister said: "What I heard from my interlocutors was both important and encouraging. I returned from my trip full of expectations regarding the upcoming processes. I also happened to address the annual AIPAC Conference. This year’s conference was more important than ever. Senior administration officials, members of the Senate and House of Representatives, and the candidates for the presidency appeared before it. The conference again proved that Israel enjoys great support in the US and that Israeli interests are certainly understood and accepted by both major political parties. This consensus is the product of intensive, daily efforts by AIPAC and the Government of Israel, and was reflected in both my visit and the  conference."

2. IDF Intelligence Branch Director of Research Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz briefed the Cabinet on current security matters.

3. Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On briefed the Cabinet on his visit to France for the meeting of OECD finance ministers.

4. Health Minister Yaacov Ben-Yizri briefed ministers on the issue of violence against health system personnel. Prime Minister Olmert said that no situation, however difficult and sensitive, could justify violence against medical personnel.

5. Finance Minister Bar-On and Finance Ministry Director-General Yoram Ariav briefed the Cabinet on the economic situation and macro-economic forecasts ahead of the 2009 state budget. The former noted that an overall goal of economic policy was to encourage growth while reducing gaps.

National Economic Council Chairman Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg and Bank of Israel Research Dept. Director Dr. Karnit Flug commented on issues and targets regarding economic policy for the 2009 budget year, as they were presented by Finance Minister Bar-On and Finance Ministry Director-General Ariav.

Prime Minister Olmert said: "The Government set itself three goals which it has consistently met: Investment in security, education and social welfare. While it is never enough, we are making significant strides in these fields, and we will continue to emphasize them in 2009 as well."