Basic Guidelines of the 31st Government of Israel

(May 4, 2006)


1. The Government of Israel, out of recognition of its responsibility to work towards shaping a new chapter in the history of the State of Israel, will strive to advance unity and peace within the nation, with tolerance, mutual respect, restraint and love, while reducing internal discord.

2. The Government will strive to shape the permanent borders of the State of Israel as a Jewish state, with a Jewish majority, and as a democratic state, and will act to achieve this through negotiations and agreement with the Palestinians – conducted on the basis of mutual recognition, signed agreements, the Roadmap principles, cessation of violence and the disarming of the terror organizations.

3. The Government will strive to conduct negotiations with the Palestinians in order to shape a new reality in our region.  However, if the Palestinians do not act accordingly in the near future, the Government will take action even in the absence of negotiations and agreement with them, on the basis of a broad national consensus in Israel and a deep understanding with Israel’s friends in the world, primarily the United States of America and President George Bush.  Israel’s territory, the borders of which will be determined by the Government, will entail the reduction of Israeli settlement in Judea and Samaria.

4. The Government will act to narrow social gaps and will formulate a detailed plan to battle against social distress and will work to improve the public health system in general and amend the components of the health basket in particular.  Foundations will be laid to provide equal opportunities for all its citizens, regardless of differences in race, religion or sex.

5. The Government will fight corruption and immorality in all areas of life, and, first and foremost, in government institutions and the public administration.

6. The Government respects, and will continue to respect, all Government authorities in Israel: the Knesset, courts and particularly the Supreme Court.  The Government will act to strengthen the law enforcement authorities.

7. The Government will fight crime and violence and will do its utmost to protect the personal security of Israel’s residents.

8. The Government will act to advance the education system, from preschool to academic level. 

The Political and Security Arena

9. On March 28, 2006, Acting Prime Minister, Minister Ehud Olmert delivered a speech in Neve-Ilan, in which he outlined the main principles of his political and security plan.  The Government of Israel will strive to realize the said plan, as expressed in the aforementioned speech.  A copy of the speech is attached as an annex to the Guidelines and constitutes an inseparable part of them.

10. Israel will continue to act determinedly in order to guarantee the security of its citizens and residents in and outside of Israel, against terror organizations threatening to harm them.

11. Israel will continue to act, anywhere and anytime, in order to foil, disrupt and prevent terror attacks against its citizens or residents.

12. Israel will complete the security fence as quickly as possible, in order to provide maximum security to its citizens and residents, taking into consideration the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian civilian population, and trying to prevent unnecessary suffering.

13. The Government considers the build-up of its military and security force and the preservation of Israel’s deterrence capabilities against all enemies to be an essential component, without which the country’s integrity, the safety of its citizens and economic prosperity cannot be preserved.

14. Taking into consideration the said principle in Article 13, the Government will explore the possibility of reducing the security budget, from budget year 2007.  The Government will strive, through the Ministers of Defense and Finance, to institutionalize a process of determining the security budget, the core of which will be perennial.  This, in light of budget constraints and the State’s goals on the one hand, and the security needs and threats facing Israel, on the other.

The Economic-Social Arena

Fiscal Policy

15. The Government will adhere to the principle of restricting regular expenditure.   In addition, starting with budgetary year 2007, the Government will raise the expenditure rate to a growth rate of 1.7% of the basic budget from the previous year.

16. The general deficit target will be preserved, and will not exceed 3% of the budget.  A planned reduction of the deficit will be determined, gradually, of up to 1% in the budget year 2009.   The Government will fulfill all its commitments in accordance with and according to the agreement regarding guarantees with the United States.

17. The Government views a stable and growing economy as a national goal of the highest importance.  To this purpose, the Government will act in coordination with the Governor of the Bank of Israel, who is also the principle economic adviser to the Government.  In addition, the Government will act immediately to complete the legislation of the Bank of Israel Law, adapted to accommodate present needs, while preserving and protecting the Bank’s independent and professional status.

18.  In accordance with fiscal ability, the national debt will be reduced, while avoiding increasing the tax burden and imposing new taxes, in accordance with economic policy and Government priorities.

19.  The Government will enact a policy of social justice by reducing social gaps, through uncompromising struggle against poverty, and by taking a range of actions to constantly reduce unemployment rates, while creating as many new jobs as possible.

20.  During, its tenure, the Government will strive to reduce unemployment rates by approximately 1/3rd of its present rate while increasing the level of participation in the workforce.

Economic Policy

21.  The Government will continue to implement structural reforms in the economy, with the intention of making the markets more efficient, will carry out reforms in implementation and operational processes in order to make the public, governmental and municipal sectors more efficient, while emphasizing efficiency in service to citizens.  These reforms will be implemented with full consultation between the Government, the employers and the organizations representing the employees.

22.  The Government will strive to decrease inequality while encouraging people to work, reducing the number of foreign workers and concentrating on support for the population unable to work.

23.  The Government will act to achieve maximal transparency in the state budget and its implementation, and will implement reforms in the budgetary process.

Minimum Wage

24.  During its tenure, the Government will determine a target to be reached gradually, to raise and fix the minimum wage to NIS 4,600 ($1,000).  To this end, and following an agreement between the coordinating bureau of the financial organizations and the New General Labor Union, the minimum wage will be raised in the first stage by an overall rate of NIS 500, in two phases: first – by half the amount during the present budgetary year, no later than June 1, 2006; and second – by half the amount during 2007 (totaling NIS 125 on April 1, 2007 and NIS 125 on June 1, 2007).

25.  The continuation of the change in minimum wage will be determined in accordance with the circumstances, taking into account the unemployment rate, the rate of participation in the workforce, the growth rate and the productivity of the national economy.  The examination will be made by a parity committee comprising Government representatives, employers and employees.  The committee will present its recommendations to the Government no later than July 1, 2007.

26.  The Government will act immediately to build a system of efficient and appropriate enforcement of labor laws, including the minimum wage law, in a manner that will ensure compliance with the terms of labor laws in every field of the economy.

27.  The Government will act to gradually reduce the total number of foreign workers, legal and illegal, including Palestinian workers (excluding frail care employees, day laborers from Jordan and foreign agricultural workers).  The aforesaid number of foreign workers, at the end of the process, will not exceed 3% of the labor force.  In addition, the role of the Government is, at the same time, to care for foreign workers, find suitable solutions to their humanitarian needs and those children of foreign workers who were raised and educated in Israel.

28.  A budgetary framework will be determined to encourage participation in the workforce by the weaker sectors of society, by means of assistance in the form of services which support employment, including increasing subsidies for daycare and after-school activities.

Obligatory Pensions

29.  The Government will act to implement obligatory pensions for every citizen, anchored by law.

Old Age Allowances

30.  The Government sees the elderly and pensioners as a preferential population to which the best and maximum resources should be directed, in accordance with the budgetary situation and growth rate of the economy.

The National Council for Society and Economy

31.  The Government will establish, in accordance with a special Government Resolution, a council for society and economy, which will include Government representatives, employers and employees.  The council will present its recommendations to the Government regarding economic planning: for the short-term, the medium-term and long-term.  The council’s recommendations will be made with the agreement of all its members.

Employment Agencies

32.  The Government will appoint a team of experts, with the aim of advancing the timeframe in which the law becomes valid, while adjusting it to the aims which are the basis for the legislation, and to the existing circumstances in the economy.

Health

33.  The Government will adopt a policy of a measured and appropriate enlargement of the health basket.  Beginning in 2007, the drug basket will increase by 4% per annum (which would total, this year, NIS 200 million).  As such, in budget year 2007, the Government will add a special supplement to the drug basket in the amount of NIS 200 million to treat special needs.  At the same time, ways of ameliorating the health system will be examined, including expanding health service coverage and increasing resources, including the field of hospitalization for frail care.

Pensioners

34.  The Government will act to advance the rights of the aged and pensioners.

Education

35.  The Government will work to ensure that, in the Jewish education system, emphasis will be placed on strengthening the Jewish identity of the Israeli people, learning the spiritual treasures and eternal values of the Jewish people and the legacy of Israel through the ages.

36.  The Government will act to implement agreed-upon reforms in the education system, which will center on the student, the status of teachers, their salaries, training and promotion tracks.

37.  The Government will act to restore education to its deserving place at the hub of public activity, and will act to adjust the education system to its aims, while directing resources towards administration and funding.  The Government views investment in human capital as the primary boon to socio-economic growth, and the reduction of gaps in Israeli society.

Pre-School Education

38.  The Government aspires to make pre-school education an inseparable part of the obligatory education system in Israel.  In the first stage, the Government will provide resources to subsidize daycare centers.

Higher Education


39.  The Government will adopt a creative and up-to-date approach to implementing radical changes in the higher education system in Israel.  The Government will emphasize the need to nurture excellence and leadership on an international scale in the fields of research – theoretical, scientific and applied.  Human capital is a component without which there is no economic growth, nor preservation of Israel’s place among the family of industrialized and advanced nations.

The Government will ensure accessibility to higher education, in a way that assures equal opportunities in education.  This equality will be ensured, inter alia, by determining appropriate tuition, providing a subsidized loan system for students who are unable to fund their studies, integrating students into national projects to reduce illiteracy and social gaps.  The Government will further implement a funding plan for higher education, in the spirit of the model which was successfully implemented in Australia.

Legal System

 40.  The ultimate standing of the Israeli legal system, headed by the Supreme Court, will be ensured.  The Government will preserve the high standing, as well as the range of functions and authorities of the Supreme Court, and will object to any change which may harm its standing, or to the way judges are appointed in the legal system.

Law enforcement and battle against crime and delinquency

41. The Government will give full backing to all law-enforcement agencies, act to strengthen the rule of law in the country and act with determination against delinquents, criminals and law-breakers.  The Government will act in a combined and joint effort against corruption in general and corruption in public systems in particular, and will act to minimize illegal economic activity.  The Israel Police will be instructed to take action against organized crime and economic crime, and to take the initiative to reduce the scope of these alarming phenomena.  The Government will act to prevent violence and to strengthen law-enforcement in general, and planning and construction laws in particular, in order to guarantee the integrity of the Government and the public’s trust in it.   The Government will act to uphold the commitments and decisions of the outgoing Government regarding the unauthorized outposts.

Immigrants and Their Absorption

42.  The Government sees immigration to Israel as the essence of the Zionist enterprise.  Continued immigration is an important component in the growth and prosperity of the economy and society in Israel, and in strengthening national security.  The Government will establish permanent ties and dialogue with representatives of immigrants from various countries, in order to coordinate absorption policy with the basic and changing needs of the immigrants.

Minorities

43.  The Government of Israel will work to develop the land to the benefit of all its residents, will ensure absolute social and political equal rights without regard to religion, race and sex, and will respect the civil rights of minority citizens in all fields of its work and plans.  The Government will not accept any expression of racism in this country.

44.  The Government of Israel will invest significant resources to ensure equal rights for the minorities who live among us, while making an effort to the equal integration of non-Jewish citizens in the civilian society in this country, in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence.  The Government will immediately implement a policy of equality in access to education, infrastructure and in receiving health care and welfare.

45.  The Government will act to accelerate the procedures of land regulation in Arab settlements and hasten city building plans, while considering the needs of their populations, and while taking into consideration the principles accepted across the country.

Culture and Art

46.  The Government views nurturing culture in Israel, in all its aspects and diversities, as a means of shaping the image of society, and as a contribution to the quality of life of every individual and the public in general.

47.  The Government will act to ensure suitable conditions for producing culture and art and original creativity in all its forms, for defending the status of artists and actualizing the right of all strata of society to enjoy cultural activity in all its forms.

48.  The Government will increase its support for cultural and artistic enterprises in various fields, to advance and benefit the cultural and spiritual life of the country.  These cultural enterprises include the stage arts, libraries, museums, legacies, film, dance, symphony and opera, and aid to creators, writers and artists.  In this framework, a special effort will be made to strengthen cultural spheres in the peripheral areas.

Regional development – the Galilee, the Negev and Jerusalem

49. The Government will act to develop the Negev and the Galilee, and will consider them national priority areas.  It will also act to transform Jerusalem into a political, cultural and business center, worthy of its status as the capital of Israel and the capital of the Jewish people.  As these issues are of supreme national importance, and are among the central issues on the Government’s agenda, the authorities of the government ministries responsible for these spheres will be expanded accordingly, in order for them to adapt to the national tasks.

Local Authorities

50.  The Government will implement reforms in local authorities, with the purpose of establishing efficient and modern local authorities, which provide suitable services, for all residents of Israel.  The Government, in cooperation with representatives of local authorities and experts in the field, will advance legislation relating to local authorities, which will include basic principles concerning the standing of local authorities in a democratic framework, the relations between the local authority and the central authority, and the relations between the local authority and those residing under its purview.

Status Quo

51.  The status quo, as it pertains to religion, will be maintained.

Those Prevented from Marrying

52.  The Government will act immediately to pass legislation solving the problem of “those prevented from marrying”.

The Fight Against Traffic Accidents

53.  The Government will regard it as a national goal to reduce the number of deaths and injuries in traffic accidents, and will determine analytical measures to examine its accomplishments.  The Government will act for the early implementation of its resolution to operate a national plan for the war against traffic accidents.  The Government will establish and operate the National Authority for Traffic Safety as an independent statutory authority, in accordance with the bill approved by the Government.  As such, the Government will act to regularize transportation branches, such as taxis and heavy transport.

Preserving the Environment and the Quality of Life

54.  The Government will advance a systemic plan of national industries in the water supply (improving and preserving its quality), drainage and sewage systems, national and municipal transportation systems, providing a solution to the problem of garbage collection and its treatment, and reducing pollution in the air, water, rivers, agricultural lands, sea, and nature.

Status of  Women

55.  The Government will act to diligently increase the integration of women in the workforce, in the political and economic leadership of Israel, in accordance with their skills and relative to their proportion in the population.  Special attention will be dedicated to Arab women, who are exposed to dual discrimination – due to the fact that they are women and due to the fact that they are Arabs.  The Government will act to improve the level of education of Arab women, and encourage them to join the job market.

Housing and Construction

56.  The Government will act to relieve the distress of young couples in need of housing, including and especially in peripheral areas and among distressed populations.

Preservation of Historic Sites

57.  The Government will prepare a master plan to rehabilitate sites related to the legacy of Israel, while allocating the necessary resources.

Holocaust Survivors

58.  The Government will act to significantly improve the situation of Holocaust survivors, especially those living on income guarantee allowances, including strengthening the system of services at the disposal of Holocaust survivors.

Youths and Children At Risk

59.  The Government views the population of children and youths at risk as a social group in need of intensive and individual care, in order to extract them from a risky situation, and grant them equal opportunities to be citizens capable of taking their place in a modern and competitive society.  The Government will implement a national plan for the systemic treatment of this population, while allocating resources, pooling resources in governmental systems and involving additional external bodies.

A perennial five-year plan will be determined, which will ensure the allocation of resources by all participants.  The Government will oversee and follow up on all the participants in the program, and will examine the success of each one of them.

Equal Rights for People with Disabilities

60.  The Government will advance the actualization of the rights of disabled people (physical, mental, intellectual and sensory disabilities), in accordance with the “Law of Equal Rights for People with Disabilities”, in the fields of accessibility, employment, integration into schools, etc.  The Government will ensure enforcement of the laws relating to disabled people, and will advance legislation meant to assist and improve their situations.

Israel and the Jewish Communities

61.  The Government will formulate a plan which institutionalizes the ties between the State of Israel and the Jewish communities around the world, on the basis of mutuality between Israel and the Diaspora, crystallization of the Jewish identity, and the centrality of the State of Israel.  The Government will continue to support academic programs and Jewish youth programs such as “birthright” and “MASA”, and will encourage Jewish youth to visit Israel, and the children of Israelis living overseas to serve in the IDF and to bring them home.

Collective Agricultural Labor Settlements

62.  The Government views collective agricultural labor settlements as a national asset, and must work to strengthen it on a community level and on an individual level.  The Government will ensure the accessibility of water and land resources to farmers at a fair price.  In addition, the Government will act to anchor farmers’ rights to the land to ensure their ability to work their land and build their homes through a “leasing contract for generations”.

Sport

63.  The Government views sport and physical activity as a way of life and central sphere of mutual interest and identification, as a means of developing body and mind, nurturing communal, social and national solidarity, educating and properly motivating youths, and encouraging positive accomplishments and excellence.  The Government will act to develop and nurture existing and new infrastructures in the various fields of sport and physical activity, and will allocate funds accordingly.

Youth Movements

64.  The Government views youth movements as an important tool in nurturing and educating youths, and in instilling communal and individual values, and those of our society and country.  The Government aspires to increase the budgets of the pioneer youth movements.

Lasting Development

65.  The Government and ruling authorities will act for lasting development of the various State resources, while balancing between using them for present needs and the need to preserve them for coming generations.


Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs