Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

13 Kislev 5766 - December 14, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Ariel Sharon's Policy Address at the Israel Business Conference

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

At the Israel Business Conference on December 5 of this year, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon spoke and discussed his goals in several important areas. Since Sharon is extraordinarily close-mouthed for an Israeli prime minister, this speech represents a relatively rare glimpse of his plans. Therefore we are reproducing excerpts of it for the benefit of our readers.

We have set a number of clear goals for progress for the Israeli economy: an average annual growth of 4 percent-5 percent in the coming decade, a reduction of unemployment to a standard level, an increase in the participation in the workforce to a level customary in western countries, and a reduction of social gaps.

These goals are achievable, if we can only take advantage of the great national opportunity facing us today, once we have extricated ourselves from the economic and security crisis.

. . .

Our political plan, the Roadmap, is the only plan which enables us to utilize this opportunity. This is the way to achieve calm, political progress and ultimately a process toward stable peace between two nation states, a Jewish nation state and a Palestinian nation state, living side by side with respect, and in tranquility and peace.

We must not give in to the illusions of the radical left, as though we can forfeit our demand of the Palestinians to cease and fight terrorism, and wait for terrorism to disappear on its own. At the same time, we must not be caught in the illusions of the radical right, as though we can avoid painful concessions and keep everything in our hands. It will not work.

Neither excessive activity nor complete passiveness can save us. Only responsible, firm and determined progress will lead us to true peace.

. . .

Last week, the government approved the National Contour Plan, following ten years of deliberations. It is a 15-year plan, which enables positive development and preserves a balance between the various interests.

We have approved comprehensive infrastructure plans for the next fivr years. The new road and interchange plan, at a scope of 19 billion NIS, is underway. Additionally, a long- term plan for the development of the Israel Railways is already in operation, at a similar scope of 20 billion NIS. Investment in transportation infrastructure is necessary to close the gaps between the center and the periphery.

We have formulated a new investment plan for the Negev, at an unprecedented scope of NIS 17 billion in the coming decade. Furthermore, we are currently working, in conjunction with the Manufacturers Association of Israel, to transfer 60 factories to the Negev. Each Negev resident will sense the implications of these investments with regard to infrastructures, employment, education, service and recreational centers. I have already asked Shimon Peres, who spearheaded this plan, to prepare a similar plan for the Galilee, and we will invest the necessary resources in this one as well.

. . .

Simultaneously with the investment, which will bring real growth during the coming decade, we must make certain that the fruits of growth will reach every citizen in the country. We must not forget the weaker ones among us, those who have been most affected, because when times are hard, it is the weaker ones who suffer more.

We had to make cutbacks, and despite our constant efforts and actions to minimize the damage, many people were adversely affected. Now, with the renewal of growth, we can give more. From these fruits of growth we succeeded this year in adding the largest supplement ever to the health basket, and a substantial amount for senior citizens in income guarantee. However, our most important step was the nourishment enterprise for school children. Each day, 200,000 children receive a hot meal in the framework of this project. Now it is our intention — my intention during the next year — to increase this project to 400,000 children. There is no reason for children in Israel to be hungry. There is no reason for it, and it will not happen!

We must give more to those who cannot work, those who, with a little help, can be raised above the poverty line and live in dignity. The elderly, the disabled, single-parent families, children at risk, new immigrants. I am pleased that everyone remembers them now. It is unfortunate that we have been prevented from approving the budget for 2006, including the plan which we intend to introduce, with clear designated budgets for the weaker sectors.


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