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Partners For Change: Preface

The only resource that's really rooted in a nation--and the ultimate source of all its wealth--is its people....Israel's greatest resource has always been the genius of its people, and America has always benefitted from that genius.

In 1992, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton and Tennessee Senator Al Gore ran a campaign for the White House on the theme of change. They vowed "to put people first and fight for what Americans deserve: good jobs, world-class education, quality health care, and safe streets and neighborhoods. It's a plan to unite Americans behind the hope we all share--that we can create a better future for our children." The outline for this ambitious program was published prior to the election in a book entitled, Putting People First: How We Can All Change America.

Now, as President and Vice President, Bill Clinton and Al Gore are faced with the challenge of implementing their vision. We believe that Israel can help.

Israelis have always shared the belief expressed by Clinton and Gore that people are a nation's greatest resource. Education and training are values deeply rooted in Jewish tradition; consequently, Israel has always taken pride in the disproportionately high educational status of its population. And it is this resource that the United States has an interest in tapping.

Though it is a small country of five million people that is no bigger than the state of New Jersey, Israel has proven that people can make a difference by building a modern nation out of what literally were malarial swamps and desert. Moreover, Israelis share American values and have a special relationship with the United States dating from even before the founding of the Jewish State. Israelis can offer examples of innovative ways to approach common problems and can put their talents to work jointly with Americans toward solutions.

The program outlined here is not meant to be a supplement to economic aid or another version of foreign assistance. On the contrary, it is hoped that the current program of economic support (military assistance remains vital and eminently justifiable on strategic grounds) provided to Israel will eventually be phased out and replaced entirely by the type of joint projects described here, whereby the cost is either shared or the benefits to the United States justify any greater investment incurred.

The Clinton-Gore manifesto was a partisan document produced during a campaign, so we do not take a position on their disagreements with prior administrations. We do agree, however, on the importance of change, and that making effective use of our most valuable resource--the American people--will indeed make the United States a better country. This book is designed to show how, together, Israelis and Americans can improve the quality of life in both nations.