(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday, 15 February 2009:

1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made the following remarks: "This is the first Cabinet meeting since last Tuesday’s elections and we still do not know who will form the next Government.  The current Government will serve until the next one is sworn in and will act while taking into account the existing political situation."

2. ISA Director Yuval Diskin briefed ministers on various security matters.

3. The Cabinet discussed the issue of Government assistance to Holocaust survivors. 

4. Central Bureau of Statistics Chief Statistician Prof. Shlomo Yitzhaki briefed ministers on the 2008 Population Census.

5. The Cabinet noted Interior Minister Meir Shetrit’s statement that he has appointed Prof. Yaakov Ne’eman to chair a team that will recommend changes in the State of Israel’s immigration policies. 

6. The Cabinet discussed Pope Benedict XVI’s expected 11-15 May 2009 visit to Israel and decided as follows:

Preparations for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Israel will rank high on the Government’s list of priorities.

Minister Haim Ramon will be responsible – on behalf of the Government – for the visit.  Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Ra’anan Dinur will chair an inter-ministerial team to coordinate preparations for the visit.

Minister Ramon will submit the plan for the visit and details on the Government’s preparations, including sources of financing, for Cabinet approval no later than 1 March 2009.