Monday, December 31, 2012

Cabinet Protocols, August 4, 1948: Salaries & Languages

Now if we were doing this right, we'd be publishing the protocols of the cabinet like a Swiss watch, once every week. After all, in the summer of 1948 the cabinet was meeting twice each week if not more often. But we haven't been doing it right. Too many other interesting stuff to tell about, and too little time to deal with it all.

But today we're back. Remember, the point of this thread is to follow the protocols of the meetings so as to get a feel for the issues the cabinet dealt with, not to delve into the depths of the minsters' discussions which would take far more time.

On August 4th 1948, almost three months after the founding of the state, the ministers got around to authorizing their own salaries: 175 pounds for the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice, 150 for a cabinet minister and a Supreme Court justice.

The Finance Minister presented the matter of supporting families of soldiers (the war was still on, note), and also support for bereaved families. The cabinet accepted that this was the responsibility of the government, and tasked the Ministers of Finance and Security with the creation of a public commission which would decide on guidelines for sums of support.

There was a discussion of identifying external sources for funds.

There were a series of discussions about languages: should there be an official newspaper in a European language? (No). Should the patent office work in English? (Yes, as well. Less than three months into the country's existence and before the end of its first war, the ministers recognized that Israelis would be inventing useful stuff and they needed to be protected. Far-sighted, that.) Might official documents be written in other, non-Hebrew, languages? (Let's decide some other time.)

The 6th of Iyar should probably be Israel's official Independence Day (because independence had been declared on the 4th? Mystifying - and anyway, it didn't happen.)

As a general rule government agencies shouldn't be working on Shabbat, except for operational military needs.

The Hebrew University: 1. Jerusalem must be the cultural and scientific center of Israel. 2. So HU must contiue to operate in Jerusalem. 3. The government will stump up funds. 4. Actually, world Jewry should stump up funds.

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