(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed approval of the 2009-2010 state budget and economic plan:

"Today, we will continue the approval process for the state budget and the economic plan.  We are doing this even as we are beset by two major crises.  The first is the global economic crisis, unprecedented in the past 80 years.  The second is an accumulation of very serious economic threats against the state.  We will need to balance between economic, security and other needs.  However, we stated that we would do our utmost to prevent hurting the weakest populations and, therefore, I would like to reiterate that we will rescind measures that adversely affect Holocaust survivors, the elderly and the handicapped.  Additionally, we will cancel the tax on hospitalization days.  There are still other measures that we will consider.  To the extent that we reach an agreement – a package deal with the Histadrut and the employers – I assume that many other issues will also be dropped.  In any case, we have a great responsibility for the country’s needs and we will need to act responsibly while showing maximum concern for the weakest populations.”

2. Minister Gilad Erdan, who is responsible for liaison between the Government and the Knesset, briefed the Cabinet on the lessons learned from Government-Knesset cooperation last week and noted those areas that ministers need to strengthen.

3. The Cabinet discussed threshold qualifications for Government ministry director-generals.
 
4. Pursuant to Article 12 of the 1959 State Service Law (Appointments), the Cabinet appointed Haim Blumenblat as the Director-General of the Strategic Affairs Ministry.

5. The Cabinet appointed Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman to chair a ministerial committee on the international and diplomatic aspects of the State of Israel’s war on terrorism.
The committee will deal with the international and diplomatic aspects regarding the exposure of the State of Israel and its citizens to international claims, including private claims, and will discuss the various possibilities of promoting understanding and agreement with other countries in order to prevent the abuse of universal jurisdiction.
 
6. The Cabinet appointed Foreign Minister Liberman to be responsible for the strategic dialogue with the US.
The Israel-US strategic dialogue is the highest framework for permanent bilateral dialogue on strategic issues.  It was born out of a 1999 joint statement by then US President Bill Clinton and then Prime Minister Ehud Barak.  The two countries’ representatives meet twice a year, in Jerusalem and Washington.
 
7. The Cabinet appointed Prime Minister Netanyahu to chair a ministerial committee to consider ways to improve the situation of the Palestinian residents of Judea and Samaria.
The committee will consider ways to improve the situation of the Palestinian residents of Judea and Samaria, such as encouraging economic activity (i.e. the movement of goods, residents and tourists, the initiation of economic projects, etc.), promoting personal welfare, and reducing bureaucratic and other impediments.
 
8. The Cabinet amended its 14 September 2008 decision (paragraph 4) and determined that the Minister for Public Affairs and the Diaspora would chair the forum on preparations for emergency situations in world Jewish communities, alongside the Jewish agency Chairman, instead of the Cabinet Secretary.
 
9. Pursuant to Article 38 of Basic Law: The Government, the Cabinet decided to propose that the Knesset declare a state of emergency for a period of one year, effective 17 July 2009.
 
10. The Cabinet approved draft amendments, regarding the Israel Police, to the 2009 Security Service Law.
 
11. The Cabinet approved draft amendments, regarding the Prison Service, to the 2009 Security Service Law.
 
12. Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Shalom Simhon briefed ministers on the Agritech 2009 exposition.
 
13. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and senior Finance Ministry officials briefed the Cabinet on structural reforms for 2009-2010.