"The global economy, which is based on science and technology, has made it possible for Israel to participate in a world journey to a new era ."
The winter session, which is opening today, heralds an intense parliamentary season, an agenda loaded with debates on the next year’s budget with, at its center, security, political, economic and social issues.
It is essential that the negotiations being conducted by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the Head of the Palestinian Authority will succeed, as the conference being planned is likely to be an opening for the attainment of a peace agreement. And even if there are some who express doubt at the ability of the Palestinians to achieve peace, the impression must not be created that Israel has doubts regarding the need and the willingness to achieve full peace.
I am certain that in the debate on the budget, the Government and the Knesset will devote the appropriate attention to the social issue and that they will express their solidarity, also practical, with the inhabitants of Sderot and the settlements in the western Negev. And, naturally, at the head of our agenda there remains the concern for the release of the kidnapped and missing soldiers and their return home in complete safety and good health.
Yet, it must not be forgotten that this is a period in which the entire world, and also Israel, will have to deal with global processes which are developing, the two most urgent ones being: the proximity of Iran to becoming a nuclear country and the growing danger and reality of the warming of the globe.
These issues will have an ever-increasing influence on the security of Israel and on the lives of its citizens.
Fortunately, Israel has learnt to use the positive potential of globalization. By harnessing the governmental budget and by the technological take-off of the economy, it has gained outstanding economic achievements. For the first time our balance of payments is positive. The economic growth has increased our national income by 50% within a few years. The income per capita has doubled, although the distribution has remained defective and requires a basic repair in order to wipe out poverty in the country.
The global economy, which is based on science and technology, has made it possible for Israel to free itself from the limits of its camp and to take off to global spaces, both near and far, to participate in a world journey to a new era in which political boundaries have become lower; distances have surrendered to electronic speed; and demographic migration has begun from countries in which there is a surfeit of workers to countries which have a surfeit of work. This migration lessens, perhaps even abolishes, prejudices, which caused discrimination against women and discrimination of people because of the color of their skin or their origin.
In this era, the economic locomotive is a greater mover than the military tank. And, parallel to national governments, which are based on laws, on the army and on the police, an enormous economic capability has developed of large companies whose strength is derived from scientific and technological inventions and from good will.
This economic global ability has no precedence and, therefore, no past. And, thus, it does not rely on what has been accumulated, collected and/or committed. It faces an open future. It is concentrated on discovering the secrets of nature, establishing new productive systems and developing revolutionary means of organization. Its power is in vision and not in memory.
And the future obliges it to focus on producing alternative energy, clean water and a synthesis between high technology and clean technology.
The modern economy is global and individual at the same time. Individual talent makes it possible today to establish an economic empire, without the need for an army or a police and without conquering nations or territories.
This era makes it possible for Israel to discover hidden talents, which were not expressed previously and which had to be proven by measuring the size of the country, not only in kilometers but also by the number of scientists per square kilometer.
We have succeeded in an economic take-off and have not yet reached the peak.
Each country would wish to adopt for itself such possibilities of growth, of good will, of both competition and cooperation. But two heavy shadows darken this development:
1. Global terror
2. Global warming
These two dangers are more than strategic risks. They create a historic threat and a threat to the security of all countries and the safety of all the inhabitants of the globe.
The leading government nurturing terror and financing it with money and weapons is Iran, with Ahmadinejad at its head.
I am not stating this with pleasure. We have known different periods with the people of Persia. The Declaration, for example, of Cyrus, 2500 years ago, preceded the Balfour Declaration. It enabled the Jews to return to their homeland.
Instead, Ahmadinejad now calls for the destruction of the Jewish state and he is unable to hide these intentions even by lies, just as he denies the Holocaust. He denies the suppression he is enforcing in his country, the brutal suppression of citizens’ rights; of public executions, including the execution of young people accused of homosexuality; the stoning of women, the cutting off of limbs, the imprisonment of intellectuals, the closing of newspapers, the harming of national minorities, including the specially brutal persecution of the Bahai. He nurtures hatred among people and religions in the name of the violent culture of jihad. And all this when unemployment in Iran is rising and drug trafficking is flourishing.
The present Iranian leadership is publicly declaring its intention to promote the Islamic-Shi’ite revolution, not only in the Muslim world but in the entire world.
It is openly building an arsenal of long-range missiles and, secretly, nuclear weapons. For there is no purpose in investing such huge amounts of money in these expensive missiles if they only bear conventional warheads.
Not in vain did the Ayatollah Zahni say (in April 2006), “No one can lead the country to death and destruction in the name of nuclear energy.”
The Iranian leadership is maintaining the Hizbullah in order to defeat the independent Lebanon and to turn it into an Iranian satellite. It established the Islamic Jihad and supports the Hamas in order to destroy the peace process which is taking place between Israel and the Palestinians and to create, in its stead, a great tumult so that the Palestinians will also serve the Iranian appetite instead of the Palestinian destiny.
Unfortunately, there are those who claim that negotiations should be conducted even with a tyrannical regime. Chamberlain was of this opinion when he flew to negotiate with Hitler and returned to London where he was received as a hero of peace; In so doing, he, unintentionally, helped Hitler cover his true intentions – to conquer Europe and rule it with German order for 1,000 years, to build concentration and death camps and to harm the Europeans, the Russians and, above all, the Jews. The entire world paid a terrible price in blood because it was blinded by Hitler’s deceit and lingered in calling the great lie by its name.
Columbia University was recently also confused and did not make a clear distinction between academic freedom and organized lying. The university must turn to its guest and demand, in the name of academic freedom, to invite an Israeli spokeperson to present the full truth to Iranian ears.
Ahmadinejad, in his words, distorted the present truth and falsified the historical truth. He claimed, for example, that the Jews returned to Israel at the expense of the Arabs. He ignored the fact that there were Jews in Israel before the Arabs and that they were expelled from it by force.
Is the historical right of 14 centuries greater than the historical right of 21 centuries? Is priority given only to the one who comes later?
If Iran attains nuclear weapons, they are likely to reach terrorists, because Iran is also the center of global terror. The world will then become a chaos.
Harvard University has recently published its annual report on the nuclear agency. According to it, on the one hand, the safety measure of nuclear arsenals have increased, but, on the other hand, components of nuclear weapons are now to be found in hundreds of buildings scattered among 40 countries which aim at attaining nuclear weapons. The terrorists do not hide their intentions of attaining nuclear weapons, even of a primitive quality and they are looking for uncontrolled sources, which are scattered in many places in the world.
It is an urgent obligation to refute the Iranian lies. These lies are so obvious in their distortion that they are self-destructive.
The ludicrous lie, for example, that in Iran there are no homosexuals, or the lies that the Iranian woman enjoys equal rights and the lie that all Iranian citizens enjoy civil rights. During the past year alone, 527,255 women were thrown into jail on the accusation of immodest dress. Two women were even publicly stoned to death; 250 hangings took place in the squares of Iranian cities for all to see. Hundreds of student leaders were arrested; 44 newspapers were closed. The positions of many student organizations were outlawed. This was preceded by the death sentence of Salman Rushdie, because he wrote a book which the rulers did not approve of.
The big lie is Ahmadinejad’s declaration that Iran does not intend to produce a nuclear bomb. All the intelligence services in the world are convinced without any doubt that Iran is energetically working at attaining nuclear weapons. It is investing enormous sums in building reactors and centrifuges, not because it does not have sufficient other sources of energy, for it has a wealth of oil and gas.
And again, with impudence, Ahmadinejad declares that Iran is aiming for peace, whilst Iran is the greatest terrorist center in the world today. It arms and promotes the greatest number of terrorists in the world and it established the revolutionary guards whose only aim is to strengthen terror and disseminate it.
Ahmadinejad proposed that a world referendum be conducted to find out if there is a need for a Jewish state. Is he ready, likewise, that a referendum be conducted to find out if the world needs an Ahmadinejad?
Ahmadinejad pretends that he wishes to research the Holocaust. For someone who travels a lot in the world, it would not be difficult to visit the death camps and to see with his own eyes that which he denies.
He justifies the firing of missiles from Gaza onto civilian targets in Israel, because of the so-called "occupation". But Israel left Gaza completely. There are no Israelis, no soldiers, no settlers, no citizens in the Gaza Strip. And the Hamas are firing Kassam rockets, which Iran is helping them to build, in order to destroy the chances of peace and make way for an Iranian hegemony in the Middle East.
The aim of the lie is to conceal the true evil intentions. I hope that this deceit of the “leader” will not succeed in sprinkling sand in the eyes of the world. Sooner or later a new Churchill or a collective Churchill will save the world before it is too late.
Israel must and is able to develop its own means of detection, means of intercepting and modern means of deterrence and to act as an alarm clock which rings on time in the ears of the world.
Israel will do it without stopping for a moment its efforts to attain peace with its neighbours, peace built on security for us and for them, based on mutual respect, trust and human dignity.
Some of the oil producers finance terror, and part of the income from oil is channeled to the production of bombs, missiles and terror. Oil is the greatest polluter of the globe. Terror and pollution are the growing threat to every person on earth.
The fight against global warming and terror require not only national but also regional and global organization. Pollution is not checked by national customs and poisoned water does not need a visa to cross a border. Unruly weather does not need a permit and the harm to the globe’s ability to cool as opposed to the undisturbed warming by the sun present dangers.
Israel, too, is not immune to this danger and, yet, it can be a pioneering model in the attempt to halt it. Israel owes it also to itself. The Dead Sea is losing its water, and is losing its patience. Polluted water is endangering the cleanliness of the drinking water and is endangering part of the fertile soil of our region, turning it into a desert. Not only are plants becoming polluted but people’s bodies are also being harmed by the accumulated waste. It is our duty to ensure both the cleanliness of nature and the health of man and to initiate activities in all domains in the country, in the region and in the world to harness them on time.
And if we do so, we will make a unique contribution of our own to reduce these dangers.
The uniqueness of Israel is that it is small in size and rich in talents. It enables her to be a research and development incubator of the first order.
Already now large international companies are investing in Israel’s research and development because they assess that, even if Israel is small in body, its scientific head is large.
Israel has to be in the first line of supplying answers to terror, because the terrorists have chosen it as their main target. And to deny the lies is not enough; modern and minor devices of protection should be produced to give the defender an advantage over the terrorist attacker.
The same applies to the quality of the environment. Israel is, for example, a transportation island. It does not have an “abroad” to reach by car and, therefore, it is able to be the first country to change its fleet of cars, run on petrol, to those run on electricity. Israel is already involved in this.
Israel is able to be a pioneer in alternative energy, especially solar energy and to be ahead of others in producing water (it has proved this in the past) and manage the cleanliness of the air with new methods. Israel can recruit for this purpose its outstanding potential in the field of nano-technology, to miniaturize the equipment and to make it more economical.
If Israel is able to become a daring world laboratory with a definite pilot plan, it will draw back those scientists who have left as well as others to come and work here.
The pull of challenging work is no less attractive than the salary level. Therefore, parallel to the political negotiations being conducted now, a track must be developed which will promote the standard of living of all people and produce economic peace alongside political peace, because the one will not progress without the other and both will jointly help to attain a lasting peace.
The global era and the regional reality are loaded with dangers and are not without opportunities. Israel, with a moral, cultural, political, security, economic and social effort can be a focus of light in foggy days and prevent the concealment of the horizon of hope. It is difficult for Israel to be great in numbers but it is possible to be daring in quality, and to aim for security for all and peace with everyone.
Our position is a result, not of what others will do, but it represents the essence of ourselves from both strength and destiny.