(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 22 June 2008:
1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced that he had decided to extend the appointment of Meir Dagan as Director of the Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations (the "Mossad") until the end of 2009.
2. Israel Security Agency Director Yuval Diskin briefed ministers on security matters. Article 35 of Basic Law: The Government applies to the briefing and the subsequent discussion.
3. National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer briefed the Cabinet on the recent series of earthquakes in southern Lebanon.
4. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni noted that the European Union has recently decided to upgrade its relations with Israel and requested ministers to instruct personnel at their ministries to cooperate in the context of the work underway in order to enable the full utilization of the advantages of the upgrade.
5. Tourism Ministry Director-General Shaul Tzemach briefed ministers on the activities and achievements of the ministry in recent months, and the contribution of the tourism industry as a lever for growth in the Israeli economy, both in terms of income and the number of people employed in the workforce. He presented the Tourism Ministry’s objectives for incoming tourism in the coming years, notably: attracting 5 million tourists from the year 2012. He noted that incoming tourism in 2007 registered a 25% increase over 2006, with the arrival of 2.3 million tourists, and added that the tourism industry directly contributed about 20 billion NIS (2.8%) to the GDP and 85,000 direct employees – more than 3% of the workforce. He added that indirectly, the tourism industry contributed 40 billion NIS (6%) to the GDP and 160,000 indirect employees – about 6% of the total workforce.
6. The Cabinet discussed the situation that has been created as a result of severe delays in releasing food and medicines.
7. The Cabinet amended its previous decisions and decided that the agricultural communities within nine kilometers of the fence around the Gaza Strip, which receive Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry assistance, will be able to receive a 15% increase in the number of foreign workers.
8. The Cabinet declared that January 15 would henceforth be marked as "Teachers Day" and would feature the legacy of Januscz Korczak.
9. The Cabinet decided that Minister Yaacov Edry would assume the Interior Minister’s responsibilities regarding the Dimona Municipality, due to a potential conflict-of-interest in light of the family ties between Interior Minister Meir Shetrit and Dimona Mayor Meir Cohen.
10. Pursuant to the recommendations of Foreign Minister Livni, the Cabinet approved the following Foreign Service appointments: Saguy Karni – Ambassador to Angola and Non-resident Ambassador to Mozambique and Sao Tome e Principe; Edward Shapiro – Ambassador to Belarus; Yisrael Mei-Ami – Ambassador to Kazakhstan and Non-resident Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan; Shemi Tzur as Non-resident Ambassador to Armenia, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan; and Avraham Sharon as Non-resident Ambassador to Moldova.