Basic Guidelines of the 30th Government of Israel

(February 2003)

1. General

The Government will strive to achieve the following national goals:

To ensure national and personal security for every citizen of the State.

To achieve security and genuine peace between Israel and its neighbors on the basis of stable peace agreements.

To create conditions conducive to free economic development, a thriving economy, and social welfare.

To ensure the status of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

To intensity educational efforts and strengthen the connection with our Jewish heritage and the realization of Zionism.

To fight poverty and unemployment, narrow social gaps, and improve the quality of life in development towns, deprived neighborhoods, and other areas in distress.

To encourage aliyah and successfully absorb immigrants in all realms of Israeli society.

To strengthen, expand, and promote settlement throughout the country.

To reinforce democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

To promote equality among the various sectors and ethnic groups of Israeli society.

1.1 The Government will work towards uniting its people by improving relations among all citizens; fostering tolerance, moderation, and respect for others; mending torn relations; and providing hope for a better future for all Israelis.

1.2 The Government will strive to ensure that Israel remains a Jewish, democratic, Zionist state that encourages aliyah and guarantees equal rights to all its citizens.

1.3 The Government will strive to develop a free and balanced economy. The Government views the reduction of gaps and applications of principles of social justice as essential elements of its economic policy.

1.4 The Government will act to promote stable growth through integration in the world economy, improve the standard of living, and encourage scientific, technological, and industrial advancement.

1.5 The Government will act to improve the status of broad sectors of the population, reduce gaps, and raise the standard of living through the revitalization of development towns and the rehabilitation of distressed neighborhoods.

1.6 The Government will act to effect real improvement in public health, employment and living conditions, and in treatment of the elderly, pensioners, the physically disabled, large and single-parent families, and people living in financial and social distress.

1.7 The Government will preserve Jewish tradition and the Jewish character of the State, and it will respect all other religions and traditions practiced in the State of Israel.

The Government will set policies that preserve individual dignity and promote the welfare, security, and quality of life of each citizen.

1.8 The Government will act to promote equality between the sexes and promote conditions for the advancement of women in government, academia, the labor force, and the economy. The Government will combat violence against women, family violence, and sexual harassment.

1.9 The Government will support cultural and artistic activity, as well as individual artists, and it will encourage the development of new talent in order to maintain a climate of creativity and allow Israeli culture to flourish.

1.10 The Government will strengthen ties between Israel and Diaspora Jewry through ongoing dialogue, find ways to fortify Jewish and Zionist identity, and help in the struggle against assimilation. The Government, together with world Jewry, will combat anti-Semitism and racism.

1.11 The Government will work towards strategic planning and will advance Israel's future as a modern state, governed efficiently and justly and striding confidently and peacefully towards a better future in the 21st century.

2. Security, Peace, and Settlement

The factions that are partners in this coalition have decided to serve together in one government in light of the grave security and political challenges facing Israel, although each continues to adhere to its ideological positions on political issues and on the subject of settlement including the nature and conditions of permanent agreements. Accordingly, despite differences of opinion, they have decided to participate in a joint government, based on a broad national consensus, according to these principles:

2.1 The primary goal of the new Government is to firmly establish Israel's security and promote regional stability. The Government will act to strengthen national security and provide personal security to its citizens through a determined fight against violence and terrorism. The Government of Israel will demand that Palestinians abandon the path of violence and terrorism and that the Palestinian Authority fulfill the commitments it made in signed agreements and forcefully combat violence and terrorism directed at Israel, its citizens, residents, and soldiers.

2.2 The Government of Israel will act to promote peace with all the states and peoples in the region, while maintaining Israel's historical, national, and security interests. The achievement of peace requires painful compromises by all sides. The Government will strive to achieve stability and prosperity for all peoples of the region. The Government believes that direct negotiations are the correct way to establish relationships of trust and promote peace.

2.3 The Government of Israel will honor previous political agreements ratified by the Knesset, with the condition that they be upheld by the co-signers.

2.4 The Government will strive to achieve permanent peace agreements with Syria and the Palestinians based on UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

2.5 The Government of Israel demands that the Government of Lebanon uphold its part in the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 425 and calls upon Lebanon to enter into a peace agreement with Israel. Israel will demand that Lebanon and Syria prevent terrorist activities that threaten the peace and security of residents of northern Israel and IDF soldiers.

2.6 The Government's activities in the foreign policy arena, will be guided by the principles presented by the Prime Minister before the elections (inter alia, the principles outlined by the Prime Minister at the Herzliya Conference, on December 4, 2002).

Should practical political negotiations include the establishment of a Palestinian State, the topic will be discussed and decided upon by the Government.

2.7 In the framework of the battle against terror, the Government will act to erect a security buffer in the border zones, inter alia, by accelerating the construction of security fences and other barriers.

A separation fence, as other barriers, is a security device, and does not have any political significance.

2.8 The Government will act to promote peace with the Palestinians and will work toward interim agreements that include compromises. In the framework of interim agreements, Israel will explore the possibility of redeployment in Judea and Samaria, so long as Israel's interests are not harmed.

2.9 The Government will do everything in its power to secure the release and return of POWs, MIAs, and anyone who acted on behalf of state security.

2.10 The Government views settlement, in all its manifestations, as having great social and national value, and it will act to strengthen the ability to deal with the difficulties and challenges faced by the settlement effort.

2.11 During its term of office, the Government will not establish new settlements. The Government will provide for ongoing needs in the development of existing settlements.

2.12 The Government will act with firm resolve to ensure the security of the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria.

2.13 The Government will reinforce the IDF and the other branches of Israel's security forces and strengthen Israel's power of deterrence, with the aim of preventing war and protecting the State and its citizens and residents. The Government will reserve the right to engage the IDF and security forces wherever and whenever needed in order to ensure the safety of Israeli citizens and residents and the Jewish People of the Diaspora.

2.14 The Government of Israel will demand a cessation of incitement and hostility towards Israel by the Palestinian Authority and the Arab countries.

2.15 The Government will work towards maintaining peaceful, friendly, and normal relations with Egypt and Jordan.

2.16 The Government will strive to deepen the special relationship of friendship between Israel and the United States and will continue to foster strategic cooperation between the two countries.

2.17 The Government will work to consolidate and strengthen Israel's relations with the European Union and the European states.

2.18 The Government will strive to strengthen Israel's relations with Russia and the CIS.

2.19 The Government will consolidate and strengthen relations with China, India, Japan, East Asian countries, Latin America, Oceanea and Africa, as well as with the international community in general.

2.20 The Government, as part its policy to promote peace in the Middle East, will work towards developing frameworks for cooperation among the people of the region in the political, economic, scientific, and cultural spheres.

2.21 The Government of Israel will unrelentingly and resolutely combat manifestations of anti-Semitism throughout the world and will cultivate ties and mutual responsibility between Israel and the Jewish communities of the Diaspora.

2.22 The Government will work towards finding solutions to relieve the distressed situation of SLA refugees.

3. Constitution, Law and Government

3.1 The Government will work to ensure the respect and freedom of individuals, equality, social justice, integrity, proper governance, the fostering of mutual respect between peoples, the strengthening of democracy in the State, preservation of Jewish and Zionist tradition, and recognition of the importance of the rule of law and human rights.

3.2 The Government will work towards strengthening the status of the Knesset, the courts of law, the office of comptroller, and law enforcement agencies, while preserving the principle of separation of powers. The Government will work to improve and reform public services.

3.3 The Government will combat crime and violence - including violence among youth, against women and the helpless - through deterrence and rehabilitation.

3.4 The Government will work to strengthen the judicial system and the service to litigants and to shorten the waiting period for trials.

3.5 The Government will set clear, public, and equal criteria for granting funds to government ministries and will ensure the criteria are implemented.

3.6 The Government will ensure law enforcement regarding construction throughout the country, and in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

4. National Priorities

4.1 The Government will determine priorities for distributing resources at its disposal. Priority will be given, first and foremost, to education. Special consideration will also be given to health; the fight against unemployment and poverty; the creation of new jobs; immigration; development of the infrastructure needed for economic development and quality of life; strengthening settlement; Jerusalem, the Negev and the Galilee; road safety; and encouragement of research and advanced technological development.

4.2 Government resources will be distributed solely according to criteria based on considerations related to the goals of the government and the needs of its citizens, and not based on political party considerations.

5. Economy and Society

5.1 The Government will work towards building a just society that is sensitive to the needs of individuals. The center of its policy will be the individual citizen and the fight against unemployment and poverty.

5.2 The Government will work to improve the standard of living and the quality of life of both the individual and society. The Government will invest in improving the economic status of middle class residents of development towns and distressed regions and neighborhoods. It will work to improve the education, employment conditions, and quality of life of all its citizens.

5.3 The Government will work to create conditions that promote economic stability, encourage expansion, and continue structural reform.

5.4 The Israeli economy is small and dependent on foreign trade. Successful expansion of the economy depends on the country's expertise in areas where it enjoys a relative advantage, thus enabling it to manufacture and export high-quality products and services at competitive prices. This approach necessitates exposure to the international market and the removal of administrative and other obstacles in order to enhance the competitive strength of the country's economy.

5.5 The Government will continue to expand the policy of exposure and liberalization of the money market, capital market, and labor market.

5.6 The Government will maintain a low level of inflation by reducing government expenses, reducing its budget overdraft, creating conditions for increased productivity, and setting appropriate monetary policies.

5.7 The Government will adopt a policy of privatization and will transfer control of businesses (including authorities, according to legal and banking regulations) to the public and to private enterprises.

5.8 The Government will strive to the best of its ability to build confidence in the capital market and to encourage all sectors of the public to increase savings.

5.9 The Government views the business sector as an essential tool in promoting economic growth and creating jobs, and will, as such, work to encourage this sector.

5.10 The Government will work to increase economic competition while limiting monopolies, removing obstacles, and reducing economic centralization, and it will also work towards integration in the world economy. The Government will encourage and promote knowledge-intensive industry and high-tech companies. The Government will encourage investment in these industries and the establishment of new businesses, especially in development areas.

The Government will act to establish an authority for technology for the purpose of facilitating democratic processes, efficient allocation of resources, initiating national technological projects and reinforcing the connection between science and industry.

5.11 In order to provide incentives for work and productivity, the Government will prepare a tax reform plan with the goal of reducing tax rates and expanding the tax base. The Government will more strictly adhere to its tax collection procedures and ensure that the tax burden is distributed in a just manner.

5.12 The Government will work to develop peripheral communities and encourage settlement in the Galilee and the Negev.

5.13 The Government will work to hasten improvement of the country's water infrastructure systems, develop its agriculture, and increase agricultural exports.

5.14 The Government will examine implementation of the Public Housing Law into effect (within the limits of the budget), especially taking into account large families, young couples, new immigrants, recently-released soldiers, and residents of distressed areas.

5.15 The Government will work towards improving the condition of the society's elderly and pensioners.

5.16 The Government will turn its attention especially to the physically and mentally disabled and the hearing, sight, and speech impaired, as well as to single-parent families and children with special needs.

5.17 The Government will work to significantly reduce the number of foreign workers in Israel and explore ways of easing their distress.

5.18 The employment preference given to soldiers who have completed their military service will be maintained, in accordance with the legal statutes for veterans (1989).

5.19 In the framework of budgetary restrictions the Government will examine the possibility of increasing salaries for soldiers in mandatory service.

6. Aliyah and Absorption

6.1 The Government of Israel will make the national-Zionist agenda its central focus.

6.2 The Government, together with the Jewish Agency and the Zionist Federation, will work to encourage aliyah, enhance the Jewish-Zionist education of youth in Israel and in the Disapora, intensify the bond with Jewish communities around the world, strengthen unity with the Jewish People in Israel, and ensure the Jewish, Zionist, and democratic character of Israel.

6.3 In light of the need for Israel to take an active role in ensuring the future of the Jewish People and in advancing the national-Zionist agenda, the Government will increase strategic cooperation with Jewish communities and with the Jewish Agency, and will carry out the activity of the institution to coordinate between the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency.

6.4 The Government will work diligently to increase aliyah from all countries, to save individual Jewish lives, and to create social and economic conditions conducive to the speedy and successful absorption of immigrants in their homeland.

6.5 The Government will assist immigrants in training, economic enterprises, professional re-training, employment, and learning the Hebrew language.

6.6 The Government will work to integrate new immigrants academics and those working in science in the Israeli economy, public service, business and industry, institutions of higher education, and research.

The Government will act to integrate new immigrants in the education system while utilizing their cultural and scientific potential for the benefit of the entire education system.

6.7 The Government will strive to eliminate salary discrimination in every profession for identical work done by new immigrants and veteran Israelis.

6.8 The Government will pay particular attention to immigrants in need of assistance: the elderly, single-parent families, the disabled, and the infirm.

7. Education

7.1 The Government will make education its number one national priority and will view investment in educators as the key to economic and social productivity and, in the long range, as the means to remove groups of citizens from the cycle of poverty and distress.

7.2 The Government will guarantee that the Jewish educational system will include instruction in the eternal values of the Jewish People - the Torah, love for the Land of Israel, human respect, the history of the Jewish People and the Zionist ideal, and universal and humanistic values of freedom and mutual respect. The "Book of Books" (the Tanach), the Hebrew language, and the history of the Jewish People are the cornerstones of our national identity and will take their proper place in the education of our youth.

7.3 The Government will work towards ensuring equal educational opportunities for all, and mandatory education for children aged 3 to 5, gradually lengthening the school day, increasing the number of students eligible for high school diplomas, developing the special education system, expanding the system of higher education and ensuring the right to study in it, gradually lowering college and university tuition, and granting student loans, all within the constraints of the budget.

The Government will advance scientific and technological education that will shape a new generation of scientists, researchers, and educators and will permit Israel to join the upper echelons of research and industry in the fields of science and technology.

7.4 The Government will work to ensure equality in all educational institutions in Israel - state, religious-state, and ultra-Orthodox, while allowing them to express their unique qualities.

7.5 The Government will promote the educational system in regions targeted as a national priority and in poor neighborhoods.

7.6 The Government will work to enrich education in Zionism, democracy, social sensitivity, and respect for the nation's laws and judicial system.

7.7 The Government will work to improve the training, status, and working conditions of teachers and researchers.

7.8 The Government will work to uphold the value of "protection of animals", and ensure that all laws concerning this principles are enforced.

7.9 The Government will turn its attention to children of families in distress within the framework of the state educational system.

7.10 In an equal and public fashion, the Government will support art, sports, theater, music, dance, film, museums, and libraries in an effort to create an atmosphere of creativity, develop talent, and promote the flourishing of Israeli culture. The Government will also promote Israeli sports in their various forms.

7.11 The issue of safety and the removal of safety hazards in educational institutions will be emphasized.

7.12 The Government will continue to promote the concept of day care centers and special programs for children aged 3-4 within the educational system.

7.13 The Government will work to find appropriate solutions for student dropouts.

8. Infrastructure

8.1 The Government will initiate publicly and privately funded projects for investment in the physical infrastructure and human resources of the country in the areas of transportation, energy and communications, education, and research and development and in industry and technology, with the aim of creating the necessary environment to place the Israeli economy on a par with that of the world's most advanced countries.

8.2 The Government will create its own databases and will encourage the establishment of private databases according to law. Together, these will form a national database that is accessible to the public by computer.

8.3 The Government will find a just solution for the country's water problem, promoting, among other things, the desalinization of seawater.

8.4 The Government will act to remove bureaucratic barriers in order to facilitate private investment in national infrastructure enterprises.

9. Transportation and Road Safety

9.1 The Government will strive to solve the transportation problems of the country and will make every effort to prevent road accidents. The Government will continue to devote appropriate resources to intensify these efforts, including education, investment in infrastructure, law enforcement, and improvement of vehicle safety.

9.2 The Government will plan rapid rail lines along major highways, pave roads, and build bridges and interchanges in order to shorten travel time, improve access to population centers, and relieve traffic jams.

9.3 The Government will support the establishment of public transportation systems that make use of advanced technology. The Government will work towards opening the existing public transportation system to competition.

10. Religion and State

10.1 The Government will work to build common ground between religious and secular Jews in an atmosphere of understanding, peace, mutual respect, and shared love of Israel. The Government recognizes the need to design a suitable approach to the issue of religion and state by promoting dialogue and establishing trust, an approach to be based on mutual tolerance and understanding and a desire to live in peace with all Jews.

10.2 The Government will guarantee that the religious needs of every ethnicity and religion in Israel are addressed in an equal manner, without regard to political affiliation.

10.3 The Government will safeguard the holy places of all religions. The Government will take measures to enable Jews to pray at their holy places and people of other religions to pray at theirs, with consideration for the requirements of public security and order.

10.4 The Government will act according to the declaration of principles signed by representatives of Shinui and the National Religious Party which was accepted by the additional parties in the Knesset. This declaration is considered inseparable from the basic guidelines.

11. Equality between the Sexes

11.1 The Government will create conditions for full integration of and equality for women in Israel in all aspects of life and will work to ensure equal salary and job opportunities for men and women. The Government will strive to improve the status of women and eliminate discrimination of any kind.

11.2 The Government of Israel will work towards true representation of women in all decision-making bodies of the country.

11.3 The Government will denounce and endeavor to eliminate all forms of harassment and violence against women. The Government will work to raise public awareness regarding the seriousness of these problems and will devote resources for information, education, and deterrence.

11.4 The Government will assist women who are victims of violence, in an effort to restore their physical and mental health, strengthen their self-respect, and help them to function fully with no threat of further violence.

11.5 The Government will consider establishing policies that allow parents of young children to continue working or to arrange flexible working hours, lengthen the school day, provide more day care facilities for pre-school children, and offer training and support to parents and those who work with them.

12. The Status of Israeli Arabs

12.1 The Government will ensure the full and equal rights of all its citizens - Arab, Bedouin, Druze, Circassian, and all others. The Government will work towards equality in education, employment, housing, and infrastructure and will rectify imbalances in the distribution of resources and public services.

12.2 The Government will work to create places of employment through industrialization in Arab, Druze and Circassian communities and by gradually narrowing social and economic gaps between the various population groups of the country, regarding economic and social infrastructure.

12.3 The Government will improve the educational system in the Arab, Bedouin, Druze, and Circassian sectors, as well as in the Jewish sector, and will promote traditional Arab, Bedouin, Druze and Circassian cultures.

12.4 The Government will work towards creating an economic and social infrastructure in Arab, Bedouin, Druze, and Circassian communities that is equal in quality to that of Jewish communities.

12.5 The Government will work towards creating places of employment for the Arab, Bedouin, Druze and Circassian sectors at the highest levels of government and public service.

12.6 The Government will apprise itself of and attempt to remedy the problems of Israeli Arabs.

13. Health

13.1 The Government will aim to ensure that each citizen is covered by health insurance that guarantees all necessary services for medical treatment, basic prevention, and rehabilitation.

13.2 The Government will work towards increasing the number of hospital beds and the amount of up-to-date medical equipment in hospitals and clinics, streamlining the bureaucratic process, and shortening the waiting period for medical treatment.

13.3 The Government will work to ensure that the elderly receive appropriate medical services and to reduce distress with regards to long-term hospitalization.

14. The Quality of the Environment

14.1 The Government of Israel will make environmental issues a national priority and will work to raise public awareness regarding preservation of environmental quality, including the cleanliness and appearance of the environment ,as an inseparable part of the country's welfare, the quality of life, and the desire to build a moral, healthy, and thriving society.

14.2 The Government of Israel will grant high priority to the preservation of the country's natural resources: water, air, land, and flora and fauna.

14.3 The Government will give top priority to sanitation, garbage recycling projects and the establishment of sewage purification plants.

14.3 The ministries of the Government will strictly follow, to the best of their abilities, policies that preserve the green areas of the country.

15. Local Government

15.1 a. The Government will strive to replace Mandatory legislation regarding municipal, local, and regional judicial matters with up-to-date legislation that meets the needs of local government.

In light of this legislation, the Government will explore the possibility of granting special status to larger authorities as "independent authorities" that will be given freedom of action and a degree of economic control in certain areas.

b. In light of this legislation, the Government will explore granting official legal status to the Center for Local Government as a representative body of the local authorities.

15.2 The Government will work to update planning and construction laws in order to expedite and simplify planning and construction processes.

15.3 The Government will work to create uniform criteria in the field of property tax, and will examine ways of reducing property tax.

15.4 The Government will act to combine local authorities in order to make local authority mechanisms more efficient.

16. Television and Radio Broadcasts

16.1 The Government will work to end its involvement in the regulation of television advertising and the determination of funding sources for television channels.

16.2 The Government will work to ensure that the public is given a wide choice of broadcasting options that offer a variety of sources of information and people who influence public taste, opinion, fashion and lifestyle.

16.3 The Government will work to establish radio stations and television channels that are geared to specific sectors of the population.

16.4 The Government will explore changes in the system of monitoring radio and television broadcasts.

16.5 The Government will examine the existing structure of public broadcasting in order to keep pace with developments in mass communication, increase the scope of locally produced material, and enrich the content of televised programs.

Source: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs