At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 15 March 2009:
1. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert referred to the efforts being made toward the release of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit:
"Over the weekend, I held a series of discussions regarding the efforts that we are making in order to complete the possibility of bringing about the release of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who is being held by Hamas.
Yesterday afternoon, I decided to dispatch ISA Director Yuval Diskin and special envoy Ofer Dekel in order to make an additional effort to bring about an agreement that will lead to Gilad Shalit's release. I instructed them to complete discussions by this evening brief me on the results.
I intend to convene a special Cabinet meeting tomorrow (Monday), 16 March 2009, in order to update ministers on all the developments up to now regarding Gilad Shalit. I reiterate that we want to bring Gilad back home and, to this end, are making great and unprecedented efforts. This is in contrast to an inhuman terrorist organization which believes that human compassion is weakness."
2. Transportation and Road Safety Minister Shaul Mofaz and senior Transportation and Road Safety Ministry officials briefed ministers on the struggle against road accidents.
3. National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and the Director-General of the Water Authority briefed ministers on the water crisis in Israel, including the water situation of the Sea of Galilee.
4. The Cabinet approved a plan to encourage immigration to Israel from the countries of the former USSR.
5. The Cabinet discussed various enforcement issues regarding fair representation in the civil service for Arab, Druze and Circassian citizens.
6. The 31st Government summarized its activities. Prime Minister Olmert made the following remarks:
"I will not discuss security activity here. Suffice to say that through wide-ranging security activity, we strengthened Israeli deterrence both near and afar. We met severe and complex challenges; missions and objectives are yet on the table. Israel is prepared for them better than ever. I would also like to point out the Government's unprecedented decision to approve a multi-year budget for the defense establishment, in the wake of the Brodet Commission report."
Ministers briefed the Cabinet on their activities in the 31st Government, including various projects and issues that were dealt with by their ministries, and noted the productive levels of inter-ministry cooperation in carrying out their responsibilities. The ministers commended Prime Minister Olmert's conduct of Government affairs and thanked him for the assistance and the support that he gave to each one of them.
PM Olmert postpones Monday morning Cabinet meeting by 24 hours
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
In light of the negotiations that are currently continuing in Cairo regarding the release of Gilad Shalit, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert decided a short while ago tonight (Sunday), 15 March 2009, to postpone – by 24 hours – the Cabinet meeting scheduled for tomorrow morning (Monday), 16 Mardh 2009; ministers have been duly notified. It should be emphasized that as of yet, there is no sign that indicates a result in any particular direction in the negotiations.