New Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On, in his first meeting with ministry officials since being sworn into office, asked Yarom Ariav on Thursday to continue in his position as director-general. At the meeting, Ariav accepted the Finance Minister's request and presented Bar-On with a first summary of the work plan of the ministry for the rest of the year. Bar-On also met with the Finance Ministry's Budget Director Koby Haber and his deputy, as well as Wage Director Eli Cohen to discuss the upcoming government meeting in preparation for the 2008 state budget. This Sunday, the government is expected to discuss approval of a NIS 1.3 billion cut to the 2007 budget for defense and education. President of the Manufacturers Association of Israel Shraga Brosh and Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini on Thursday urged Bar-On to oppose the budget cut. "A cut in the 2007 state budget will damage the growth of the economy and hurt the workers and in particular low income population groups," Brosh and Eini said in a joint statement. In addition, Bar-On appointed Haber to head a committee that will be responsible for selecting candidates for the position of director-general of the Israel Government Companies Authority.