Friday, May 18, 2007


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Source: Cabinet Secretariat

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 13.5.07:

1. The Cabinet met at the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation ( ) in Jerusalem in honor of the 40th anniversary of the reunification of the city ( ). Jerusalem
Mayor Uri Lupoliansky, Jewish Agency Chairman Ze'ev Bielski, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Vice-Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein attended the meeting.

Prime Minister Olmert noted that Jerusalem Affairs Minister Yaacov Edery has been active on the Government's behalf regarding the 40th anniversary celebrations.

Prime Minister Olmert said: "We are meeting here at the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation for two reasons. One, it was the late former Prime Minister Menachem Begin who advanced Basic Law: Jerusalem - Capital of Israel ( ), which expresses Jerusalem's special place for us as a state and a society. Two, from here we have a moving view of all parts of the united city, both historical and new."

The chairmen of the Carmel Coast, Ramat Hanegev and Nahal Sorek regional councils, along with children from the council areas, greeted the Cabinet and Jerusalem ahead of Jerusalem Day.

Mayor Lupoliansky briefed ministers on efforts and plans to strengthen the city in the socio-economic field.

2. The Cabinet authorized the Sapir Highway Co., Inc. to act on the State's behalf regarding the project to construct an express lane at the entrance to Tel Aviv. See for further details.

3. The Cabinet discussed the plan to encourage economic growth in Jerusalem and decided, in continuation of its 6.6.05 decision ( ) on the plan to encourage economic growth in the city:

* NIS 5 million per annum will be added to the plan for 2008-2012 so that the plan's budget during these years will be NIS 40 million per annum;
* The 2008 supplement will be devoted to implementing the project to rehabilitate the Atarot Industrial Area ( ).

See for further details.

4. The Cabinet approved a plan to transfer Government units to Jerusalem. See and for further details.

5. The Cabinet noted the Yad Ben Zvi Institute ( ) announcement on the establishment of a central school for Jerusalem studies. The school will serve as a state body and educational institution that will be a leading body regarding Jerusalem studies, will operate on the highest professional level and will offer coordination, guidance and assistance to all bodies dealing with the issue.

The institute will produce educational materials and programs, encourage research and cooperate with other bodies in the field of Jerusalem studies. See for further details.

6. The Cabinet approved construction of the first stage of a new courts complex in Jerusalem. The construction of a courts complex will begin with the construction of a new Jerusalem Magistrates Court in the city center.

This will be a significant step in a comprehensive program to allocate greater resources to the judicial system in order to assist it in dealing with an increased workload, shortening waiting times and strengthening its image. Financing will be from both Government and external sources.

See for further details.

7. The Cabinet discussed cancellation of the employer's tax in Jerusalem. The Prime Minister's Office and the Finance Ministry intend to enact an across-the-board cancellation of employer's tax, which is imposed on salaries paid by non-profit organizations (including social welfare organizations, educational and cultural institutions, hospitals and local councils). It is estimated that the aforesaid organizations will enjoy approximately NIS 320 million in benefits.

See for further details.

8. The Cabinet discussed the absorption of Ethiopian immigrants in the civil
service and decided as follows:

* Pursuant to Article 15A of the 1959 Civil Service Law, the Finance Ministry Budget Division and the Civil Service Commission will, in 2007, allocate 15 positions in Government ministries for qualified candidates from the Ethiopian community only.

Finance Ministry Budget Division, Civil Service Commission and Immigrant Absorption Ministry representatives will reassess the plan at the end of 2007 and formulate solutions for the continued employment of members of the Ethiopian community in the civil service.

* Government ministries will - for two years - give hiring and advancement preferences to qualified candidates from the Ethiopian community.

The great challenge of integrating members of the Ethiopian community into Israeli society requires their integration into the civil service as well. This is possible only by allocating positions solely to members of this community.

See for further details.

9. The Cabinet discussed various issues regarding the protection of the Dead Sea beaches.

See for further details.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Poll: 96% of Israeli Jews won't give up Western Wall for peace

Source: Nadav Shargai, Haaretz

Ninety-six percent of Israeli Jews are against Israel elinquishing the Western Wall, even in exchange for lasting peace and ending the dispute over Jerusalem, a new poll suggests. According to the poll, most Israeli Jews do not believe territorial concessions in Jerusalem would bring peace.

The poll, performed at the request of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, also reveals that 89 percent of Israeli Jews are unwilling to give up the Temple Mount for a similar arrangement.

The poll, which was performed by the Tazpit Research Institute headed by Dr. Aharon Fein, found that Israeli Jews were far more willing to give up the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, as long as Israel keeps the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter - an arrangement favored by 43 percent of them.

Forty-three percent of participants said they were opposed to any form of concession in Jerusalem for real peace and the termination of the dispute.

In the previous survey on the matter, only 37 percent of the participants were opposed to all forms of territorial concession in Jerusalem.

Religious and ultra-Orthodox participants expressed less willingness for concessions than their secular and traditional counterparts. For example, the survey showed that 76 percent of the religious participants were opposed to territorial concessions, as opposed to 24 percent of secular responders.

Despite the relatively high willingness among participants to give up the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, most participants nonetheless indicated they did not believe such concessions would bring peace. In total, 75.7 percent believe peace is unattainable. Only 20.3 said they believed peace could be reached in return for territorial concessions in Jerusalem.

In addition, 91.5 percent indicated they believed that maintaining a large Jewish majority in Jerusalem was imperative. Some 81.3 percent said they believed that a mostly-Jewish Jerusalem would complement Israel's moral fortitude. Another 62.4 percent said they believed that Jewish settlement in Ma'aleh Adumim and Gush Etzion serve to strengthen Jerusalem.

Sixty-six percent said the same about settlement west of the city. Some 61.3 percent expressed support for prioritizing Jerusalem so as to strengthen its status and standing.

According to the survey, the majority of Israelis regard Jerusalem as the most beautiful city in Israel. Some 81.4 of the Jerusalemites who participated said they perceived it as such, along with 67.5 of non-Jerusalemites. Despite this, 51.8 percent of Jerusalemites define the city as dirty, opposed to only 30 percent of non-Jerusalemites.

Some 47.3 percent of the Jerusalemites who participated in the poll defined the city as impoverished. Another 54 percent said they believed Jerusalem was gradually becoming more ultra-Orthodox. However, despite their critical approach of their city, only 5.3 of Jerusalemites said they considered it dangerous to visit.

By contrast, non-Jerusalemites appear to be more wary of visiting the city, with 14.5 percent indicating it as a dangerous place to visit.