As you all know, the entire world is in an economic crisis that has upset global markets to an extent that we have not felt for decades. The effects of what may be entitled 'the economic earthquake' that has shaken the world's markets will not disappear from before our eyes or from our consciousness. Last week, I held a series of discussions with Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On and with Bank of Israel Governor Prof. Stanley Fisher. We discussed matters, we analyzed the possibilities. Various elements led by the Finance minister and the Governor took a series of steps in Israel, in cooperation with business leaders, in order to assure that we would be able to minimize the effects of global market movements on the Israeli economy.
In retrospect, it seems to me that our insistence that the Government pass the 2009 budget was a decision of decisive importance in upholding the public image of the Israeli economy's stability and continuity. I very much hope that this responsibility will continue to characterize our conduct in the coming months, both in the Government and the Knesset, ahead of discussions on the budget. We must remember that 2008 is not an ordinary year . We can finish the year with significant growth and lay the foundations for continued growth in 2009 but we must show responsibility . The achievements of 2008, so far, are the best in the world, according to all international experts."
Today, we will submit for Government approval, a proposal to establish science parks and smart classrooms in the Negev, at a Government investment of NIS 31.5 million, as part of the Government's plan to develop the Negev." Prime Minister Olmert referred to his visit, last Wednesday, 17.9.08, to the Ayalim student village, at Eshelim.
Prime Minister Olmert eulogized Maj.-Gen. (res.) Moshe Nativ, who passed away yesterday (Saturday), 20.9.08. He also hailed a series of recent Israeli sporting achievements, including by Israel's delegation to the Beijing Paralympics and the national basketball team's 98-61 victory last night over the Czech Republic.
Prime Minister Olmert also informed ministers that, "Today, at the start of the Cabinet meeting, I will announce my decision to resign as Prime Minister. I must say that this was not an easy or simple decision. I think that I have acted properly and responsibly as I promised the Israeli public from the beginning."