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Good morning, I am Dottie Bennett, I am the National Chair of Project Interchange and there is a real reason why I am this morning's moderator. We are so close to Israel because what we do at Project Interchange is indeed sent the influential leaders of today and tomorrow to Israel from around the world. We sent journalists, religious, ethnics and academic leaders, legislatures and parliamentarians, there are more than 5000 graduates of our program and the benefit of Project Interchange is that they get a balanced and nuance picture of Israel which I think we all know is indescribable unless you are there. And being there is what Project Interchange is all about. This year we also are sending a total of 280 people from, not from the United States but from Asia, Latin America, Europe. This is a new outreach effort and we have sent them from Chile, we are bringing them from Thailand, they have come from Germany, they have come from Denmark. We are ever expanding as we know the need to educate leaders for the future about Israel is more and more important. The last thing I want to say right now about Project Interchange is that we are in our 25th anniversary year. It is a really very exciting time for us. Apropo anniversary is last week, Israel celebrated its 59th and we are extremely happy and proud of all of Israel's accomplishments, its progress, its achievements, we are extremely fortunate. Those celebrations are tempered as they always are, by remembrance of those who have given their lives in defense of Israel, all of those who have been killed and all of those who have been either killed or injured just because they were citizens of the Jewish state. In this room we have people who supported champion Israel. But I needn't tell you that around the world there are so many who do not. Many - as is to be expected are merely indifferent. Some are critical, but involved. Some take an active role in undermining Israel's very existence and others just believe there should not be an Israel. When you consider Israel's successes, its extraordinary intellectual and cultural products, its power house economy alongside the hostility and the worrisome threats it faces on a daily basis. Where exactly does Israel stand? That is the question our three outstanding guests are going to be addressing. I am going to ask each of our panelist to speak for approximately 10 minutes and then we are going to have plenty of time for Q and A. Addressing issues related to the purpose and governance of Israel is Gidi Grinstein, President and Founder of Israel's renowned The Re'ut Institute, to many of us of course he is certainly no stranger. Gidi served as a Secretary and Coordinator of the Negotiating Team of the Government of Israel to the Permanent Status Negotiations between Israel and the PLO between 1999 and 2001. He has a very extensive background in Policy Planning. He is a graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and the Law School and Schools of Economics of Tel Aviv University. The Re'ut Institute that he founded has rapidly gained an incredible reputation of respect and influence not only in Israel but certainly here. It is a unique, non partisan, Zionist think tank designed to strengthen the vision of the state of Israel as a Jewish democratic and prosperous state. It works to enhance the Government of Israel's capacity to generate effective and systematic long term policies. We are proud at AJC that when Gidi was first thinking about launching this institute that we were consulted with. We gave him our strong support then and we gave him our strong support today. Please welcome Gidi Grinstein who is going to speak on mission and governance in Israel. Thank you very much. It's a great pleasure to be here. The AJC is the only organization that is of truly global out reach dealing with the political issues of the Jewish people and to be very brief as such, it is a great pleasure, indeed an honor to be a part of your parcel. You know, I was asked to speak about Israel's future, all of us were, and I was asked to focus about purpose and governance and last session actually reframed my definition of the purpose of Israel. So I shared that with someone and he said that's relevance, your ability to respond. So in terms of Israel purpose, I would say that like any other country our purpose is to provide security and prosperity for the citizens and residents of the state of Israel. But we also have a different set of objectives or values that drive us and in this sense we are part of a very small family of nations like the United States of America that has that family of nations, has a much more global view, set of values, concerns, agenda. And in our case it is the concern for the survival, the security of Jews of Jewish communities and of the Jewish world at large. This is no less a part of the purpose of the state of Israel than the ordinary purpose of any government or any state to provide and to cater for the well being of their citizens and the security of their citizens if you wish, like Switzerland. And in many respects it informs the reason why we are able to go through a sacrifice that very few other societies are willing to go through within the modern world. If you look at the people that are sitting here each and everyone of us and our friends and the friends of our friends are mobile, globally interconnected, highly educated and we can move anywhere at any given point in time, nonetheless we choose to stay in a certain place and to go through a set of experiences that no other members of modern societies has to go through. And that choice is informed by the Jewish context. But what does it mean for Israel, in present terms, all these purpose, what does it mean? What is the agenda if you wish of Zionism, in these days? And I would very briefly I would say the four core elements for our agenda. The first is of course is national security. And national security in our case means four things. Number one, to ensure the Jewish majority in the state of Israel the Jewish majority, the Jewish community in the state of Israel is the only Jewish community around the world that lives the life of majority. And when you live the life of a majority as [0:08:36] (Daniela) Hartmann says at many times, this is where Judaism for Judaism this is where the robber hits the road. There is no issue that can be avoided, sewage or minority rights, defense or municipal management; al these things are being informed by our Jewish culture, by our background, by our values. The second thing is the very existence of the state of Israel. Today the major threat of course comes from Iran and the third thing is the challenge of terrorism. But beyond that our National Security has to take into account the global well being of the Jewish people. And they are not always in sync, sometimes what is good for Israel is not necessarily good for the Jewish world and vice versa and this is a tension that we have to manage. Second cluster of issues has to do with the moral high ground. It is our ability and our desire to seize and maintain the moral high ground. Internally it is about the long time aspiration of Zionism for the model society, it is about corporate responsibly, it is about the treatment of the poor, it is about basic rights of access to healthcare and to education. I assumed that Dan Ben-David will a speak a little bit about that. Yes, it is also about the way we exercise our Foreign Policy and Defense Policy. The way we use force, the extent to which we are willing and the distance that we are willing in order to go in order to preserve our security. But last not least it is also about we are. About the way we are being framed because this is not a debate about fact. It is also a debate about perceptions, about intermedia. So in terms of the moral high ground it is what we do and our being perceived and that's the second major set of issues. The third major issues major set of issues has to do with our at the Jewish value. The point is that in Israel we have to be able to provide the Jewish experience that is distinctly Israeli and qualitatively Jewish. That means that people like yourselves can experience the Israel a Jewish existence that is not available to you anywhere else and it is qualitative. And the flip side of this is that we as Israelis, we have to be able to plug and play Jewishly and globally. Today as you know, most of the Israelis that come to this country are distant from your communities. They are not part of your community. A lot of us in Israel don't know how to plug and play especially those that have a more secular background. So our challenges, to be able to roll around the Jewish world and to connect wherever we come we come and our challenges are also to offer to your kind of Jewish experience that you can get nowhere else. And last but not least is the agenda of socio economic rule. Israel has to become one of the 15 leading nations of the world in terms of quality of living. This is we refer to this as the top 15 agenda. This is the set of actions and statements and policies that need to be undertaken for Israel to undergo a massive a period of massive socio economic growth. And the reason is that at the end of the day we are competing globally for three resources, for brains, for investment dollars and for technology. And why are these these measurements the most important? They are the most important because a, they are highly elusive. Do there in Israel people paying taxes to Jerusalem, next thing you know they are paying taxes somewhere else. But more importantly these are the things that we need to look at because of the way people make decisions. So if you look at some one who is highly educated, who can live anywhere, who can make double the salary in America compared to what he or she are making today in Israel. How do they take a decision with regard to the central to the central to the center of livelihood? They look at the education system. They look at the personal safety, they look at law enforcement, they look at welfare, they look at healthcare. They even look at the politeness and whether they are getting a respectful service when they call the when they call their municipality. They look at whether the private space is being respected. All these things matter and at the end of the day the choices that people wink especially those that are globally mobile. They are the ones that are the strongest indicator to us whether we are moving in a right direction. And the Jewish world which means you is our niche market. So in one hand - on the one hand we have to compete effectively for some of your best years, not necessarily all of your life it's not necessarily about alia but some of your best years, we have to effectively compete for it and for your investment dollars and for your attention. But on your part what you need to bring in is the discount. And what I mean by discount is that you need you have to be willing to live with us even if it compromises to a certain degree your standard of living. You have to be able and willing to make investments in Israel even if it's at a higher risk or in lower return. I am not talking about losing your money in Israel, that's the worst kind of charity. I am talking about making investing in Israel to make money even if there is a little bit of high risk. And the question is can Israel rise to the challenge? And unfortunately today in Israel we live with very a very difficult mismatch. A mismatch between the complexity of the challenges that the state of Israel faces on the one hand and the weakness of the political tools that are available to us. We are the only country that faces existential threat. When you come here to America you hear law makers speaking interchangeably about their pledge to the security of the state of Israel which is fair, every country has security concerns. And then they also pledge to the existence of the state of Israel and that's where it gets really strange because no other country is being spoken at with this kind of language. We also have to deal with socio economic growth. When we have two constituencies in Israel that are under participating in a labor force, that's the ultra orthodox community and the Arab community, two very different reasons. The third thing is we are living through very difficult pressures of sustainable development. We have the Arab minority, we have the Jewish world. Five challenges unique to Israel. May be in each and every one of them is not unique to Israel but their combination is. And this is being met by one of the weakest structure of government, short and unstable tenures, fragmented legislature and executive. Now every body has reservation about governments. I am yet to meet the person that is really delighted about the way his or her tax dollars are being spent. We all have reservations with our government but in Israel it is very problematic. If you look at World Economic Forum, you have all heard Charles who was a couple of days ago, here. World Economic Forum indicators place the Israeli in a very special group. It is the group of countries were the performance of the public sector is very low compared to the performance of the business sector. In other words our public sector is under performing compared to our business sector. Just to throw a few numbers at you our population top five around top five in the world. Our business sector, ranked top eight in the world, amazing achievement, overall 15, our government 29. Very big gap, the only three other countries that this route the similar kind of gap which means government is highly under performing compared to the business sector are countries where their government is small, almost half the size of our government. Which means that we are highly exposed to a highly ineffective and a large government. In other words reforming government or shrinking it is the way to unleash the potential of our growth. Because in a flat world where there are markets in the public sphere, the markets are standardized, people and resources are mobile. So it is the public sphere where we countries really connect I am sorry, where countries really compete. It is in the ports, how long does it take you to bring goods through the port? How long does it take you to resolve a case in court? Can you expect a stream of talent coming into your sphere? Can your contract be enforced? These are the questions that determine whether someone will make investment investment in Israel or in China or in India or in Ireland. So if Israel wants to win in a world of fierce competition we have to reform government. That's our number one task. We have re-generate the government that has longer and more stable tenures and much greater cohesion between the Prime Minister, the government, and the legislature. Because in Israel today the way power is divided, the way decisions are made, those issues are the substance. In other words structure is the substance. We are way too focused on what we should do as opposed to how we are doing it and it is the Winograd Committee that published its interim report this week that highlighted this issue. They are tip toeing around the one central issue. If you read through the report, they are constantly going back, referring to an issue that is out side of their mandate which is the reason why they cannot talk about it. It is the big white elephant in the center of the room and that is the way government is being structured. I will just give you one example. The Winograd Committee is very critical that the Foreign Ministry is not involved in National Security decision making. Well the reality is that the Foreign Minister the two out of the three top ministers in every government meaning Minister of Defense, Minister of Foreign Affairs or Minister of Finance, two of those three will be the political rivals of the Prime Minister. So when there is a National Security crisis and the and the Prime Minister is the captain of the cockpit, his three senior assistants or her three senior assistants are trying to save the country, but at the same time kick him off the seat. And that's a very hard system to manage. So inherent in the system, the common denominator between the fact that it takes us 40 years to build an underground in Tel Aviv, our inability to solve the basic problems of the Arab community in Israel. And a lot of other issues, education and others, the common denominator between all of them is the failing ability of the government to sustain to sustain that's the keyword, cross agency cooperation in planning, in decision making and implementation. Therefore reforming government is the number one thing number one thing that should be on our agenda. Thank you. I think its going to be evident that all of our speakers are going to be crossing over some what only because there is when you talk about governance it it just enters into every part of what indeed Israel really is. I am going to introduce to you somebody. Some of us have met him before. He is making a return appearance which is just really very special for us because David - Ben-David spoke to us at an institute at a Winter Institute and we were also incredibly impressed that we wanted a greater audience for his words of wisdom, and we certainly have that today. Dan Dan is going to be addressing you on issues relating to Israel's society and economy. He is a Professor of Public policy at Tel Aviv University; he is considered a central figure in Israel's current Public Policy debates. Earlier in his career, he worked and specialized in International Trade and served as an Advisor, to the World Bank and the Director General's office of the World Trade Association. For the past seven years he is dedicated himself to identifying problems in Israeli educational and social policy areas, working on writing papers that suggest ways of repairing them. His research and writing is frequently sited in economic journals around the world and his analysis of trends in education, employment, poverty and economic growth have been highly influential factors in Israel's economic debates. As I said we had him last year, at the Board of Governors Institute, we are extremely excited to have him back again, Dan it is yours. I would like to thank you very much for letting me talk with you today. I will give a glimpse of Israel that you may be familiar with at the level of headlines, not so clear that you are as familiar as you might wanted to be about what's underlying a lot of the headlines that you see. It's really is like it says here, a tale of two countries, two Israel's in one. The one Israel is a country that has changed tremendously over time with parents the country that our parents knew, the country of jaffa oranges was this one in 1950. Half of everything that we exported was agriculture; today it's only three percent, that's a different country. At the time Industrial exports were roughly a quarter of what we produce today, they are about 70 percent and with in that amount what part is high tech some thing which was non existent about fifty years ago. Well, the part of the bloom, the part of the 69 percent which is high tech, in 1990 it was 30 percent, today it is close to 50 percent and rising. So it is a country that is rapidly changing very, very quickly. We have a lot of scientists and engineers per capita which makes us able to compete in the modern world. If Gidi earlier spoke about people who have alternative, these are people who have alternatives chose and choose still to remain in Israel and we benefit. We invest quite a bit in R&D, in fact if you look at what proportion of our GDP goes to R&D investment Israel, civilian R&D, I am not even talking about Military R&D, you can see here that we are not on the map, in fact the way beyond, okay. And some other results, I will just briefly list them here, which you are probably somewhat familiar with if not completely familiar with and people like to invest in Israel. In fact foreign direct investment in the country has grown dramatically since 1930 1993, $600 million were invested. This grows to $5.5 billion in 2005. And last year a war year let me remind you, simply off the charts literally off the charts, I mean off the slide, okay. So we put in proportion 13 over $13 billion last year, during a war year. Now when you put some of the other data on the map here together with this you sees a country that is basically had it not been for the war we would probably would have had a government surplus, we do have a trade surplus which is something that's uncommon. Inflation, relatively zero, in other words seemingly a phenomenal country; it is a phenomenal country seemingly phenomenal performance. In fact three percent growth for the past three years in per capita income. But and there is a big but here, there is another Israel and as I said this is the tale of two Israels. The other Israel looks quite a bit different and when we think about history, Herzl got it right about a 100 years ago when he said; it has to be the country of choice. In another words not only to people have to want to immigrate from here, from other places to Israel but problem of this stage of the game, even more important, our children have to want to stay there, have to make to choice to stay there. Those who will have the choice have to want to stay there. So let me show you what the big picture looks like, not just the high tech, not just what we are very proud of with the big picture. The long run growth path, okay. Income levels in Israel have risen quite dramatically in fact since 1950 until 1973 the eve of the occupy war, it's a phenomenal growth path, its very steep, the slope of the path reflects the rate of growth. In fact we are growing so fast that we were catching up with America, we are catching up with all of the western countries leading western countries. Had we continued along that path we would have reached American standards of living, we did not continue along that path, in fact we changed our national priorities from one end to the other. We moved to a different path, completely different path, a much shallower path in other words a much slower growth path; it is an incredibly stable path. We have got through wars, triple digit inflation, Aliyah to the tune of a fifth of the country's population and its slow, its etched in stone. Nothing is moving us away from this path, how bad is it? Well you look at how incomes have grown in Israel, average income per capita has grown and that's a deceiving thing. Our incomes have risen by an average of about 69 percent since 1973. But countries that were wealthier than us in 1973 countries that we were catching up to, and till 1973 their incomes have doubled. So in fact in relative terms we have been falling farther and farther away from the leading western countries for three decades three decades plus. This is not going to be the country of choice if this continues. It is simply unsustainable. Point number two has to do with poverty. Not the poverty that you read about in the papers, are we handing out enough? Is welfare high enough, our tax are sufficient so on to cover it, even though that's a very important point? I want to show you the poverty picture behind these scenes, in gross incomes. Before we talk about net income, before we move one shekel, from one person to another, what is the percentage of families that would have lived under the poverty line had we not helped them out. Then you can see here a very steady increase since late 70s, roughly a quarter of families would have lived under the poverty line in late 70s, today we are talking about a situation where about third of families in Israel would have lived under the poverty line had they not received assistance, okay. And it's increasing all the time. And the third major point here, the third major foundation of any western society of any society in fact is income inequality. Here too, what does the income inequality look like behind the scenes, it gross incomes rather than in net incomes. Well you can put pretty much put a ruler on this, that's how straight this is, you have fluctuations around the path, it is a very straight path. You have very strong increases in income inequality. Since the 70s, in fact if you compare us to other western countries, well this is in the 80s, we were already then one of the least equal countries in the world, since then inequality rose in most countries and that us by end of end of sect of the decade. So if you could put this graph with the other graph we are not only be one of least equal countries in the world, it is increasing all the time. So do what we do, what's behind all this? Well, in fact if you compare us with America, just to get the idea of some of common themes that are causing all of these three trajectories our population relative to America's population is a little bit over 2 percent, but what we produce our pie or GDP is no more than one and half percent. In other words something is very deficient here. What are we doing wrong? Two things, again comparison with the United States, what is the rate of employment in the US relative to the rate of employment in Israel? Okay, those American simply work more, 21 percent higher employment rates in America, that's not a trivial amount, if more people work you get a bigger pie; there is no big secret here. But the second point has to do with those who actually work and this is including those who work in high tech with huge with very high productivity. As a country, what do we produce in one hour compared to what Americans produce in one hour? Well, Americans produce over a quarter more each hour than we do; that's how you get a higher life style, living standards that's how you get out of poverty, that's how you start dealing with inequality. What is behind this, or what if the major obvious not the only thing that's behind this, one of the major causes of this is education, okay. And here, we have to become a little bit more realistic about where we've gone over the past 30 years because it's the major cause of what you see here. In fact, if you look at the main - a tool box that we give our kids, what did it look like once up on a time, the three Rs. Well, in Mathematics for example in the early 60s if in the international exams, this is Junior High School level, if you are looking for us, that's us. We are way up at the top. Okay. If you are looking to see where we have gone since then by the mid to the late 1990s, okay, now this is now Maths and Science same age group relatively speaking. 53 countries keep waiting, we're we are on the 39th place, Okay. The 100 that you see there is not the grade that we received, that's the basis. Who is above us? The United States, okay. When you guys saw this grades, okay, 25th place you didn't look down to see who is below you you looked up and that's why the United States now has the no child left behind program because that's how scared the US are from being in 25th place. Look at where we are. Above us two countries from which we import foreign workers, okay. Another country which we can't even compete with the textiles because if they - more wages to their salaries but this is what their kids are learning in school in the basics compared to what our kids are learning in the school in the basics. So there are no surprises coming down the pie queue in this direction. When you look at income inequality, well, the jumping off board for income inequality is education inequality. And here too, in the international exams you can see the gap between Israelis compared to the gap between children in other countries is one of the highest in the world. Okay. The United States, when you compared with Bethesda to to intercity Washington or or Harlem to Beverly Hills, those gaps within 300 million people are five percent lower than the gaps in our seven million. Okay. So if we are looking to reduce income inequality anytime soon, that's one thing we have to start paying attention to. Our weakest student bottom five percentile are among the weakest in the world. And the cream of the crop, those are going to lead the country one day we hope. Okay. The top five percentile how do they compare with the other top five percentile in another countries 35th place, so if I've shown you where we've been and where we've come to now I am giving you a glimpse of what the future holds if we don't get our act together. Now, the other area is the employment. And here too, here I want to give you a picture what employment looks like in Israel. Compared, for example, to the U.S. and the OICD, that Organization of Industrial Countries, this is men, in the second I'll show you women. 13 percent of prime age men in OICD or in the US do not work. Okay. Prime working age is 25 to 54. In Israel, we can look at three different groups. Gidi mentioned two of them, I am going to show you the big picture here. Okay. Arab men, 30 percent of them, prime working age are not in the ballgame here. Ultra orthodox male, three quarters of them are simply not working. Okay. And the rest, and here too, you have to be careful before you say it's all the Arabs and the ultra orthodox. When you look at non-ultra orthodox Jews, 16 percent versus 13 percent it's a quarter more. So before we say, "All our problems are with the ultra orthodox," now we have some serious problems solving to do, in general. In particular with those two segments or society, but we have to get or act together in general. Okay. Now women, as you can see in general, non-employment among women is higher than among men. We have another group that does not, just simply does not work. 70, you know, I don't know of any similar comparisons in other country. Three quarters of the Arab Women just are not in the labor force no, they are in the labor force and not working necessarily. Okay. How, in the women, 50 percent are not employed. And here what we look at is Jewish non-ultra orthodox; they are roughly the same as in the West. But here too, you have to be careful because we are not letting out minority groups into US, or any other countries. So it would probably be a little bit different there. Now what's, where are we headed in as far as this is concerned. Because we have two groups here, basically because may not work part of their living life styles. Okay. Now if we were to raise our employment rates, not even talking about productivity to western levels, we did increase the pie by 15 billion shekels, if you were to move to US, employment rates you wouldn't recognize the country. Okay 50 billion shekels more the next morning. Now when we talk about ultra orthodox men, there is still a relatively small part of the population, 5.4 percent of the men but they are only 1.5 percent of the employed men. Arab women, 16 percent of the women, but only five percent of the working women, where are we headed? Well one way to look at it is looking at who is in primary school. Okay, the proportion of children in primary school who are in either in Arab schools or ultra orthodox schools in 1960, 15 percent, okay. A decade later there are roughly a quarter these are today's adults with those lifestyles. What happens in another generation who are the kids today half of all the children today pretty much half are in these schools if these are going to be their lifestyles who is going to hold the country who is going to support the country, so you can see what's coming down the pike here and it's coming down very, very quickly. So when we talk about a solution we have to start talking about comprehensive solutions, there is no way to minimize the importance of looking at the big picture of a comprehensive solution. One that focuses on the root causes of poverty and inequality while at the same time talking about growth. These are not two opposing objectives as opposed to the common debate in Israel and the states, you are either a Socialist and you worry about the poor or you are a Capitalist and you worry about growth, these are not two things that work against one another. They work against one another if you do them wrong. If you are only thinking about helping the poor through welfare, if you are talking about giving them the tools to work in a modern society they contribute to themselves and they contribute to the country. We use more of the cylinders we have available to push the country forward. Now we basically no one needs to be done these are things that I have been affiliated with there have been other shown them to the Prime Minister, shown them in Knesset, we know what we needs to be done. It's just a question of getting our act together since I don't have time to talk about all this. I just show you some of the things, some of the main points that we need to concentrate on. If it interests you, there is a booklet that's a, I have a few copies I can give you. But in any event we do know what needs to be done, it's a question of just getting our act together and doing it. Now I want to to state in conclusion that's the basically the growth, property and inequality trajectories that we were on are simply unsustainable in the long run. The main problem here is that the portion of society that's not receiving either the tools or the conditions for working in a modern economy, that segment of society is growing at a faster pace then the segment of society that's financing them. It's got to be clear that that's not sustainable in the long run. It can it can't work, okay. Now what we have undergone in recent decades is not the outcome of some pre ordained destiny, it's the direct result of manmade national priorities since the 70s. That is the anomaly and that is the promise called Israel. Okay there is no other nation in the world with such dismal socio-economic trajectories which is also at the same time the home of bright points of lights which are extremely essential for its success. I don't know of any other country outside the United States, they has better universities, more gifted researchers and doctors, higher quality technology and greater potential still its not guaranteed forever. We know what the problems are, we know where they can lead us and we also know how to solve them, okay. Israel has many unique attributes, one of them is our ability as a country to make a 100 degree turns on a dime. Okay now sometimes that leads us into a heap of trouble but on the other hand, more often than not, this is an attribute that when you combine it with our national can-do spirit, okay which is pretty much second to none, it never ceases to amaze and to inspire in it's accomplishments. Everything, everything we saw here is changeable, I think its all in our hands. That will certainly give you something else to think about. Speaking to us this morning about the political life and structure of Israel is Einat Wilf a member of the Labor Party Central Committee. Einat previously served as the Foreign Policy Advisor to the Vice Prime Minister, Shimon Perez. She is a graduate of Harvard University, has an MBA from INSEAD France and is currently working on a PhD from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. Prior to working for the Israeli government, she worked as a consultant with McKinsey and Company in New York and was a managing partner of a Venture Capital firm in Israel. Einat is in the process of completing her second book but her first book which was published in Israel in 2003 has been translated for those of us who speak English and read English and is now available. It is called My Israel: Our Generation. That's the plug of the morning. She writes regularly for Ynet in Hebrew and English and her editorials of course, appear in Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post among many other publications. We are really excited about the collaboration between the Trans Atlantic Institute and of course the American Jewish Committee because it is through that orbit that Einat has come to us. You can also see her when you take a look at the Trans Atlantic Institute web site, were she is prominently featured. I am pleased that we now have the opportunity to hear from this emerging Israeli political leader. Please join me in welcoming Einat Wilf. Thank you very much Dottie and thank you for having me here. One of the big pleasures of participating in these panels is really the opportunity to listen to the co-panelists and it is always a pleasure. Young people, present company excluded, do not want to go into politics in Israel. It's not a rare situation. Many young people around the world do not want to go into politics. I want to talk about why it is important, why it is important in Israel, and what can be done about it? Politics is always important for the obvious reasons, but it is particularly important in Israel because I think politics is in some way the highest realization of Zionism, because what is Zionism, if not the realization of Jewish Sovereignty. And Jewish sovereignty is exercised through the political sphere. It is the unique sphere where Zionism is exercised. Today Jews can do anything outside Israel, there is not a field, not an area that is closed to Jews, where Jews have to fight their way in. But, there is still the question of politics. People say is the country, is America, ready for a Jewish President. Well that's not a question in Israel right? In Israel the country by that definition is ready for Jewish Prime Minister. It will be a Jewish Prime Minister, it will have many Jewish politicians. So that is very much what Zionism is all about. It is the opportunity to have a normalized political existence by which, by definition our leaders, our politicians, those who legislate, those who make the decisions are Jews. So I believe that it is the unique Zionist mission to ensure that we have the future generation of people who go into politics, who exercise this unique opportunity of Zionism to exercise Jewish sovereignty. Now in politics there is no vacuum. If people, certain people of quality, of ability of values do not choose to go into politics there will be others who do. We can always count on that. There will be others who go there for personal gain, for the thrill of power. For the thrill of being close to decision making and who have not prepared themselves, who do not have the right character, the proper knowledge, the proper skills and because there is no vacuum in politics, we cannot afford to leave the political sphere to those who will not do the best possible job. I have made it my personal mission, both I admit myself but for others as well to make sure that people of quality and ability and character go into politics and I am always happy in any opportunity to service a mentor to young people who are wondering about it and who despite everyone telling them, are you crazy, are still interested in exploring the opportunity. And what do I tell them, if people are thinking about it, young people? What does it take to succeed, what do I want young people to work on in order that they will succeed. The first thing is character. Now this country has known for a while, the issue of character in politics and Israel for the longest time it's been a bad ideology. But we have, I certainly, I think, moved from a time of ideology, to a time of character and I think we have seen it in the past year and in the Winograd Report. A lot of the failed decision, yes some of them are due to structure but I think, many of them are due to character and for a young person wanting to go into politics, I think the key refrain is the very old one of know thy self. And it is a long process of learning to know thy self. Learning your dark areas, your susceptibilities, your vulnerabilities, in times of crisis, how are you likely to respond, what will tempt you. Know that, so you that you are not surprised when you get to the moment of decision making. Know who you are so that when that moment comes, you are not surprised by yourself. And Israeli politics does not allow you to hide. Some people say it's the reason the Israeli politics is a blood sport but I find it's one of the reasons it's fascinating. Because you cannot hide your character, some people attempt in the process of campaigning to hide their character. It's very popular today to shut up and hope to make it to the top without saying a single word but Israeli politics is such a pressure cooker that your character will always come out, which is why it's so important to develop it and to know it and to train yourself to deal with the things that you are weak in. The other part that I think young people need to prepare themselves for is developing a world view. Proper opinions and we have seen here two people who have actually dedicated tremendous amount of time to doing so. When you talk to young people they all think they have opinions. I think we all think we have opinions until actually pressed to answer specific questions. What should we do specifically with the problem of health care? How should the budget be allocated? Then we sometimes find ourselves lacking in tools, in knowledge, in background. So to make that leap to understand how little we know, how little we have actually worked on developing proper policies, proper opinions, so that the day when we make it to a decision making post, we do not learn on the job, but we actually come with an understanding of what policies should be. I think that's critical. If I am angry, one thing that Amir Peretz has taken the role of Defense Minister its not that he was a civilian, that's not the issue. It's that he has not spent a day in his life thinking about what is the proper role of security, about Israel's security thinking. He has spent his time thinking about other issues but not about that and I think in that respect he is quite responsible. So I would like to see young people come to the position, whatever position they are at when they have actually spent some time thinking about it and developing their world view. And finally we need people who have political skills. I hate it when certain people say they want politics without politicians. Politics is a profession, I think a revered profession, especially when it is done well. We have no need for young, idealistic people with great education who are incompetent in politics. We do not need them to become spectacular failures, emblems of the fact that young idealist competent people have no place in politics. Because when some one of quality fails in politics the loss is not only his or her own. It's the loss of all the other people who developed hope, that they too could find a place in politics and as a result of that person's failure no longer feel that way. So we have to make sure that when people of the right character, the proper world view, the education, the quality, the moral spine, when they go into politics that they understand that this is a profession that they need to master and that it is incumbent upon them to do it well because they must succeed. And I do leave one thing open. When young people choose not to do something I always leave it open to the possibility that may be I got it wrong, may be young people today are seeing something that I am not seeing. Maybe when young people today are refusing to go into politics, they are seeing a new world emerging that I am not seeing. Professor Klaushwab talked about the diffusion of power. I think this is one of the main trends of the world today. Power is going into places it has never been before, maybe politics is no longer the locus of power, maybe its going to be somewhere else. So if it is somewhere else I am at least keeping my eyes and ears open to see maybe young people are noticing these new places and going to them. One of my favorite phrases that I have kind of heard in the past year is the future is hear, it's just unevenly distributed. And its here its somewhere, in the labs of MIT, in the group perhaps, coming together with laptops in some cafÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â©. We just don't know about it yet. So perhaps there is a new future for politics that we are not aware of yet, but until that point I find it a key mission for us, for all of us to help develop, in order to really exercise the ideal of Zionism, the future generation of political leaders for Israel. Thank you very much.