Guidelines of the Government of Israel
June 1996

The Government presented to the Knesset will act on the premise that the right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel is eternal and indisputable, that the State of Israel is the State of the Jewish people, whose democratic government guarantees equality for all its citizens, and whose main goal is the ingathering and integration of the Jewish people.

The striving for national unity, social justice, and personal liberty, and the search for genuine peace with all of our neighbors while safeguarding national and personal security, shall serve as the basis for the Government’s policies.

The Government will work to achieve the following goals:

  1. Achieving peace with all our neighbors, while safeguarding national and personal security.

  2. Reinforcing the status of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people.

  3. Increasing immigration to Israel, and integrating new immigrants in all walks of life.

  4. Creating conditions for a free, thriving economy and social welfare.

  5. Strengthening, broadening and developing settlement in Israel.

  6. Promoting values of the State of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state, while maintaining a proper balance between the will of the majority and the rights of individual and minorities.

  7. Broadening education and strengthening the bond to Jewish heritage and the realization of Zionism.

I. PEACE, SECURITY AND FOREIGN RELATIONS

  1. The Government of Israel will work to broaden the circle of peace with all of its neighbors, for the good of Israel’s citizens and the region’s inhabitants, while safeguarding Israel’s vital interests.

  2. The Government will reinforce and develop its peaceful relations with Egypt and Jordan.

  3. The Government of Israel will conduct negotiations with Syria without pre-conditions.

  4. The Government will work to raise the level of relations with other Arab countries which have connections with Israel: Qatar, Oman, Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritania, and will work towards mutual recognition and cooperation with Arab countries with which Israel does not have diplomatic relations.

  5. The Government of Israel will use all means at its disposal to bring home the prisoners of war and missing in action and all those who worked for the security of the state, and will insist on this point during negotiations with all relevant parties.

  6. The Government will negotiate with the Palestinian Authority, with the intent of reaching a permanent arrangement, on the condition that the Palestinians fulfill all their commitments fully.

  7. The Government of Israel will propose to the Palestinians an arrangement whereby they will be able to conduct their lives freely within the framework of self-government. The Government will oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state or any foreign sovereignty west of the Jordan River, and will oppose "the right of return" of Arab populations to any part of the Land of Israel west of the Jordan River.

  8. In any political arrangement, Israel shall insist on ensuring the existence and security of Jewish settlements and their affinity with the State of Israel. The Government of Israel will continue to bear full responsibility for the Jewish settlements and their residents.

  9. The Government views the Golan Heights as essential to the security of the state and its water resources. Retaining Israeli sovereignty over the Golan will be the basis for an arrangement with Syria.

  10. The State of Israel will keep strengthening the Israel Defense Forces and other security forces to deter potential enemies, prevent war and defend the state and its citizens.

  11. The Government will exercise its right to use the IDF and security forces to act against the threat of terrorism everywhere, to ensure the well being of the country’s residents and the Jewish people.

  12. The Government will act to remove the threat to the northern border and will ensure economic development to residents in the north.

  13. The Government’s privatization policy will take into account the essential nature of the defense industries to the country’s security.

  14. The Government will promote Israel’s foreign relations to enhance its security and peace, and to further the goal of economic and cultural growth.

  15. The Government will nurture its special, close relationship with the United States, on the basis of the commitment of both to the values of liberty, justice, democracy, and the commonality of their interests.

  16. The Government will act to strengthen relations with Russia and other CIS states, bearing in mind Russia’s status in the international community and the interests shared by Israel and these countries.

  17. The Government of Israel will continue efforts to have Israel added as an associate member of the European Union, and will act to strengthen its ties with Europe.

  18. The Government will strengthen its relations in all spheres with countries in East Asia, especially economic ties with the fast- developing market in the region.

  19. The Government will strive to develop relations with all countries desiring peace and will increase Israel’s involvement in international organizations.

  20. The Government will initiate and cooperate in international efforts against terrorist organizations and those countries which shelter and aid such organizations.

  21. The Government will act with determination against any manifestation of anti-semitism throughout the world, and will work to enhance the ties and mutual responsibility between Israel and Jewish communities in the Diaspora.

II. JERUSALEM

  1. Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, is one city, whole and undivided, and will remain forever under Israel’s sovereignty.

  2. Freedom of worship and access to the holy places will be guaranteed to members of all faiths.

  3. The Government will thwart any attempt to undermine the unity of Jerusalem, and will prevent any action which is counter to Israel’s exclusive sovereignty over the city.

  4. The Government of Israel, through its ministries and through the Jerusalem Municipality, will allocate special resources to speed up building, improve municipal services for Jewish, Arab and other residents, and to reinforce the social and economic status of the greater Jerusalem area.

III. RELIGION AND STATE

  1. The Government will act to bring the religious and secular closer through mutual understanding and respect. The Government will retain the status quo on religious matters. Whenever it becomes clear that the status quo was violated, the Government will look into steps to undo the change, including introducing legislation.

  2. The Law of Conversion shall be changed so that conversions to Judaism in Israel will be recognized only if approved by the Chief Rabbinate.

  3. The Government will initiate research of the history of the Land of Israel and the Jewish People, including archeological excavation, while preserving the dignity of the dead.

  4. The Government will make prayer arrangements for Jews at holy sites in accordance to the guidelines of religious law.

IV. IMMIGRATION AND ABSORPTION

  1. Recognizing the shared fate and the joint struggle for the existence of the Jewish people, and to achieve the main goal of the State of Israel — the ingathering of the Jewish people in its homeland — the Government will act with determination to increase immigration from all countries, rescue persecuted Jews, and create social and economic conditions for a speedy and successful integration of immigrants.

  2. The Government will put immigration and absorption at the top of its priorities in the belief that effective action on its part will turn Israel into a center which will draw immigrants from prosperous and deprived countries alike. The Government will initiate a strategic, long-term program to tap the immigration potential from various countries, estimated at one million immigrants in the coming decade.

  3. The Government will work to bridge the gaps between new immigrants and veteran residents, and will create conditions to facilitate their smooth and successful integration into Israeli society. The Government will work through information, education and law enforcement to prevent calumny and slander against immigrant groups or individuals on the basis of their origin, and will deal with manifestations of discrimination or mistreatment of immigrants by the government bureaucracy.

  4. The Government will introduce legislation to ensure the rights of immigrants.

  5. The Government will work to bring to Israel Ethiopians who wish to immigrate and are eligible under law or government decisions.

V. ECONOMICS AND SOCIAL POLICIES

Va. Economics

  1. To stem the continuous dangerous growth in the State budget deficit, the Government will take steps to decrease the deficit; not by raising taxes, but by cutting expenditures, and strict budgetary policies. To increase revenues, the Government will significantly expand privatization, including the sale of land, while reducing the Government’s involvement in the economy.

  2. The Government will act to establish conditions which will provide economic stability, durable growth, the reduction of inflation, and continued structural reforms.

  3. The Government will halt the current policies which have created dangerous deficits in the balance of trade and the balance of payments, and will take all necessary steps to reduce them.

  4. Israel’s economy is small, and dependent on foreign trade. Its successful development is conditioned on specialization in sectors in which it has a relative advantage, and which allows it to produce and export high quality products and services at a competitive price. This requires exposure to world markets and the cancellation of limitations and tariffs, in order to strengthen the economy’s ability to compete.

  5. The Government will strengthen exposure and liberalization policies in the capital and financial markets, as well as in the labor market.

  6. The Government will fight inflation by reducing government expenditures, decreasing the state budget, establishing conditions for increasing productivity, and through appropriate monetary policies.

  7. The Government will implement privatization policies and will transfer its control in business enterprises — including statutory authorities and the banks — to the public and to the private sector.

  8. The Government will encourage competition in the economy with the goal of allowing consumers to purchase a variety of products and services at competitive prices set by the free market rather than as a result of intervention by government or political party apparatuses.

  9. To increase the economic growth, the Government will act to create conditions for the development of small and medium sized enterprises.

  10. The Government will do its utmost to restore faith in the capital market, and will encourage increased savings.

  11. The Government will strengthen government structures and reduce the bureaucracy.

Vb. Social Welfare

  1. Development of the economy and growth will facilitate the construction of a strong society, a fair distribution of the tax burden, the creation of new jobs, and an increase in aid to the disadvantaged. The government will act vigorously to reduce poverty through education, employment, and social renewal.

  2. The Government will work to create social justice and equal opportunity for all, while recognizing that every person has the right to dignity and quality of life. The Government will strive to create a strong society in Israel, by maintaining balance encouraging private enterprise and government involvement.

  3. The Government will — as its first priority — put in place a comprehensive program to solve the housing problems of young couples and large families, to allow them to purchase apartments at reasonable prices. The Government will also work to build rental apartments for young couples and large families in accordance with criteria set by the government.

  4. The Government will examine the disposition of Israel’s health services and the way in which the National Health Insurance Law has been implemented, as well as its implications. The Government will — through legislation — initiate changes and additions in order to improve health services in Israel.

  5. The Government of Israel will significantly promote social welfare and quality of life in development towns and increase efforts to rehabilitate distressed neighborhoods.

  6. The Government will improve the welfare of the individual, strive for full employment, and ensure basic living conditions for all citizens.

  7. The Government recognizes that priority should be given to senior citizens and recognizes its obligation to improve the quality of life for senior citizens in need in the areas of housing, nursing care, and the granting of benefits and relief in accordance to criteria to be determined.

  8. The Government will work to establish pension insurance on a stable actuarial base which will facilitate pension payments at the level required to maintain a suitable standard of living.

  9. The Government will implement assistance programs for the handicapped with the goal of giving them suitable living conditions for their rehabilitation and integration into society.

  10. The Government will act to aid discharged soldiers in the spheres of higher education, employment and housing.

  11. The Government will wage an uncompromising war against the plague of drugs as a national mission of the utmost importance and will allocate the resources necessary to this end.

Vc. The Fight Against Traffic Accidents

The human, social and economic damage of traffic accidents in Israel is relatively much greater than in other developed countries. Contributing to this are the human component, deficient infrastructures, the absence of complementary inter-urban and urban mass transit, deficient legislation, and partial enforcement of existing laws. The Government will devote special attention to this issue, and will budget all the resources required to decrease the number of accidents.

Vd. Infrastructures

  1. The Government will initiate publicly and privately funded projects for investment in physical and human infrastructures in the spheres of transportation, energy and communications, education and research and development, with the aim of creating in Israel the environment necessary for the Israeli economy to join those of the developed countries of the world.

  2. The Government will act for the gradual construction of an advanced, wide-band infrastructure between a number of focal points across the country, and will initiate a unification of computer communications networks, currently operated by commercial firms, universities and public bodies, into one network. The national computer communications carrier will be connected to international sites on extensive and fast communications lines.

  3. The Government will develop government databases and encourage the establishment of private databases, which together will constitute a national information infrastructure, open to public use through computers.

Ve. The Environment

  1. The Government of Israel will raise environmental issues to the top of the national agenda, and act to enhance public consciousness regarding the preservation of the environment as an integral part of the struggle to preserve the country and out of a desire to build in it a healthy and prosperous society of values.

  2. The Government of Israel will give priority to preserving the country’s natural resources: its water, air, soil, flora and fauna. The Government will initiate basic environmental legislation, in place of and in addition to current regulations.

  3. The Government will give high priority to waste recycling projects and to the establishment of wastewater purification plants.

  4. Government ministries will operate with strict adherence to a policy of preserving green areas as much as possible.

VI. SETTLEMENT

  1. Settlement in the Negev, the Galilee, the Golan Heights, the Jordan Valley, and in Judea, Samaria and Gaza is of national importance, to Israel’s defense and an expression of of Zionist fulfillment. The Government will alter the settlement policy, act to consolidate and develop the settlement enterprise in these areas, and allocate the resources necessary for this.

  2. The Government of Israel will safeguard its vital water supplies, from water sources on the Golan Heights and in Judea and Samaria.

  3. The Government of Israel will examine the difficulties facing private farms, moshavim and kibbutzim, and propose recovery plans that will allow them to exist as independent economic entities under free market conditions.

  4. The Government will uncompromisingly combat all attempts to impair the rights of all residents to exercise their full civil and economic rights, without forced mediation by — or dependence on — any union, movement, organization or party.

VII. Status of Women

  1. The Government will create the conditions for the full and equal integration of Israeli women into all areas of life, and will also work to ensure equal opportunities for both genders, in areas of employment and salary. The Government will strive to improve the status of women, and to eradicate all forms of discrimination.

  2. The Government will increase aid to single-parent families in need.

  3. The Government of Israel will act to achieve genuine representation for women in all decision-making centers in the country.

  4. The Government will treat, with special gravity, all forms of violence against women and fight to uproot it. It will act to deepen public awareness of the severity of the problem, and allocate resources to education, information and deterrent activities.

  5. The Government will assist women who have been harmed by violence, with the goal of restoring their physical and mental health, reviving their honor, and returning them to full functioning free from threats and fear of violence.

VIII. Quality of Government

  1. The Government will act in accordance with the fundamental principles of democratic rule, and respect the status and decisions of the bodies supervising it: the Knesset, the courts, the State Comptroller, and the Attorney-General.

  2. The Government will preserve freedom of expression. It recognizes the importance of a fair and balanced media as part of the democratic system.

  3. The Government will uphold the law, act with integrity, demonstrate responsible management, and maintain strict efficiency and frugality. The allocation of resources, subsidies and grants from the State Treasury and holdings will be effected in accordance with reasonable and equal criteria, and will be accompanied by supervision over the activities of beneficiaries according to their commitments and the purposes of the allocation.

  4. The Government views its agencies and employees as servants of citizens of the State, with a profound commitment to civil rights, including the right to information and to fair, efficient and polite service. The Government will cultivate these principles among its employees.

  5. The Government will promote voluntarism and civilian involvement in governance, and will instill the values of democracy and good citizenship in the young generation through the education systems.

IX. Minorities

  1. The Government will act toward the full integration of minorities in Israel into every area. Special efforts will be made for the advancement of minorities who have joined their fate with that of the Jewish people and the State of Israel, and who have served in the security forces.

  2. The Government will act to enlarge the budgets of local Arab authorities which require improved basic infrastructures, in an effort to reduce gaps between them and other communities.

  3. Efforts will be made to absorb minority academics, particularly those who have completed military duties in the service of the State, in public institutions, in order to continue their participation in public and official responsibility for the State they served in the security services.

X. EDUCATION

  1. The Government views education as a central factor in shaping the character of the young generation in Israel. It offers momentum for closing gaps and for preventing polarization within society. Education will be grounded in the eternal values of the Jewish tradition, Zionist and Jewish consciousness, and universal values.

  2. The Book of Books, the Bible, the Hebrew language, and the history of the Jewish people are the foundation stones of our national identity, and will take their rightful place in the education of the young generation.

  3. The education establishment will put an emphasis on offering a general education that will prepare the young generation for the technological world, and give them the tools for humanistic, democratic judgment regarding the society in which they live.

  4. An extended school day will be gradually implemented in elementary and secondary schools, and priority will be given to schools in development towns and neighborhoods.

  5. The Government will strengthen the youth movements and promote youth participation in such movements, in an effort to strengthen their connection to the country and the State.

  6. The Government will create the conditions for cultural and artistic development, within which artists will be able to find expression regardless of their political views.

  7. The Government will foster the status of the teacher in Israeli society.

  8. The Government will act to promote original Israeli creations in the areas of culture and art.

  9. The Government will promote physical education as an important factor in forming the personalities of the young generation.

  10. The Government will promote competitive sport as a motivating factor in the active involvement of youths and adults in the various sports, ensuring appropriate economic conditions to enable outstanding athletes to register achievements in international arenas.