President Rivlin: Vital to employ more Arabs, haredim

Reuven Rivlin  photo: Eyal Izhar

President Reuven Rivlin called on his audience at the Israel Business Conference to join his Collective Impact program to broaden Israel's workforce.

President Reuven Rivlin addressed the Globes Israel Business Conference this morning, and called on the Israeli government to adapt itself more rapidly to the electronic information age. "Where paper and fax still dominate, there can be no innovative information culture. We must shake ourselves and make progress on the revolution by the government and through the Government Information and Communications Technology Authority. We should aspire to complete digitization of information in a way that will bring direct benefit to the citizen, through a more efficient and transparent administration providing better, up-to-date services for all citizens," the president said.

Rivlin spoke of the effect of globalization of causing greater equality between countries but greater inequality within them, and of the solutions proposed for this problem in fiscal policy and in education, but he said Israel had a special problem of its own in this respect.

"I think that in the State of Israel, there is another step that we can and must take. The Gini index that measures inequality in income distribution finds a very high degree of inequality in Israel in comparison with the rest of the world. This year, however, the gaps narrowed, mainly because of haredi men and Arab women joining the workforce. The removal of obstacles to haredi men and Arab women and the integration of the various sectors and tribes in Israeli industry and the Israeli economy is a first step that we must take, and that you, the leaders of the economy, are capable of taking, now.

"You must understand that if more sections of the population in the State of Israel do not join the circle of work and employment, in the end you will have no way to grow, and nowhere to grow, and there will be nobody able to buy your goods and services. We are in the same boat here, and if the gap between one side of the boat and the other becomes too great, it will sink.

'In the past eighteen months, the President's Residence, together with leading Israeli companies, has initiated the Collective Impact venture in Israel's Arab society. We have formulated clear measurements of integration, and in my meetings with heads of the economy, I see how things are happening, how the DNA of companies changes, becomes more diverse, and that is almost always for the better. I don't say that there are no challenges. Sometimes such integration creates pressures, and when tension between the different sectors of the population rises, the pressure in offices and in factories also rises. But, as I said, we have no choice. It is right and good for every commercial company to reach more and more sectors, no just as providers of services, but also as employers.

"The main challenge we face thus lies in our ability to adopt scientific change and progress, and at the same time to take appropriate steps to maintain as far as possible reasonable levels of social gaps and to preserve the social fabric and solidarity between the different tribes. Ladies and gentlemen, I call on all of you to sign up for the challenge together with me. We shall all make our best efforts to promote the economy of the future, with energy, confidence and daring, and with great faith in the spirit of man," the president concluded.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 11, 2016

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016

Reuven Rivlin  photo: Eyal Izhar
Reuven Rivlin photo: Eyal Izhar
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