"This morning, officials from Nativ, the Ministries of Absorption and Foreign Affairs, the Jewish Agency, and Minister Yitzhak Herzog, who is responsible for Diaspora Affairs, will brief the Cabinet on the condition of the Jewish communities in the former Soviet Union, in wake of very worrisome data. These are Jews who have the right to immigrate to the State of Israel. This population consists of approximately 880,000 people. Moreover, 660,000 immigrated, between 1989 and 2007, to various western countries. The data shows an 80% assimilation rate. Less than 10% of this population is involved in Jewish activities of any kind. And to our chagrin, there are also 38,000 citizens who have emigrated back to the former Soviet Union in recent years. This data indicates a very significant concern that within a generation the Jewish community will disappear from these countries. These communities will simply disappear, and the lack of involvement and the deficiency in solutions being proffered by various bodies, is likely to be a factor. We cannot allow this to occur before our very eyes without us providing proper answers, for which we are here today."
Prime Minister Olmert, on behalf of the Government, wished Israel's hundreds of thousands of pupils a safe and pleasant vacation, and asked all citizens, including pupils, to pay special attention while on the roads this summer. The Prime Minister noted that: "In the past year, this Government decided to invest billions of additional NIS in the education system as part of the New Horizon reform, which is being led – in my opinion – very successfully and impressively by Education Minister Prof. Yuli Tamir."
The Prime Minister expressed the Cabinet's best wishes for a full and quick recovery to Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, who is due to undergo surgery today.