(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 31 August 2008:

1. Israel Security Agency Director Yuval Diskin briefed ministers on current security matters.

2. Education Minister Yuli Tamir, Industry, Trade and Employment Minister Eli Yishai, Health Minister Yaakov Ben-Yizri, Transportation and Road Safety Minister Shaul Mofaz and Public Security Minister Avi Dicter briefed the Cabinet on their ministries’ preparations for the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year tomorrow (Monday), September 1, 2008.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert noted that, "1.4 million students will go to school.  Of these, almost 10%, over 135,000, will be going to first grade," and added that: " This Government devotes to education, I would say, almost more than to any other subject, not just in terms of resources, which approach NIS 30 billion in the 2009 budget, but also in terms of thinking, reforms [and] a different approach.  I would like to remind you that we are building 8,000 new classrooms, 40% of them in the non-Jewish sector, which is both unprecedented and unavoidable.  We committed ourselves to reducing the number of students in a classroom to 32.  We are doing this, spread over several years, but we will do this as part of the reforms."

Prime Minister Olmert also hailed the New Horizon reform program and commended the efforts that Education Minister Yuli Tamir and Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On have dedicated to it.

3. Pursuant to Article 2b of the Israel Land Administration Law and Article 23 of the Civil Service Law (Appointments), the Cabinet appointed Yaron Bibi as Director of the ILA.

4. The Cabinet discussed amendments to the 1970 Civil Service Law (Pensions) regarding teachers and principals in wake of the education system reforms.