Monday, May 14, 2007

The Cabinet Decision Taken At the Begin Center

The Cabinet intends to strengthen Jerusalem on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the city's reunification 13-May-2007

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

The Cabinet today (Sunday), 13.5.07, discussed a series of measures to strengthen the city of Jerusalem on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of its reunification. Today's Cabinet meeting was held at the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Olmert said that the reason for this was the fact that the late former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, "had advanced Basic Law: Jerusalem – Capital of Israel, which expresses Jerusalem's special place for us as a state and a society."

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that the measures would, "advance and encourage Jerusalem. Their overall cost, including the grant that I have already decided on, will be NIS 5.75 billion over five years." Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Director-General Ra'anan Dinur said that, "We want to assure the economic strength of the city. These measures will greatly assist in achieving this goal."

The measures to be discussed include:

* Canceling the employer's tax in Jerusalem: The PMO 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.

* Transferring various Government units to Jerusalem: The Cabinet will consider a proposal to transfer Government offices to Jerusalem. According to the proposal, rental contracts for Government offices outside Jerusalem will not be renewed beyond 2015. It is expected that this decision will substantially influence the city's growth and development by increasing employment and municipal revenues.

* Construction of first stage of 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.

* Establishing a central school for Jerusalem studies at the Yad Ben-Zvi Institute: The institute 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.