"No one knows how long the crisis will last, but it's clear that the coming year will be decisive," said President Shimon Peres at the opening plenum of the "Globes" Israel Business Conference today.
Peres also outlined his own economic plan. "If Israel marshals all its creativity, chutzpah, and wisdom, this crisis could become a new opportunity to become a new republic of creativity, rather than a republic of pure consumption."
The core of Peres' plan is a tax exemption of five leading industries: renewable energy, creation of new water sources, stem cells, advanced teaching equipment, and antiterrorism equipment.
Peres said, "Israel has a global, almost legendary, reputation in all these fields, so it has a chance of keeping its leadership position. Our government should inform everyone who wants to invest in these fields, in research, development, and production, that they will get tax exemptions for ten years from the date that the investment begins yielding a profit."
"The young generation, which learns from television and the Internet, is sometimes more up-to-date than its teachers. The teacher will instill values, personal development, and timeless subjects, while the information and control in technological dimensions will be conveyed via technology instruction," he added.
In education, Peres proposed combining academic studies with military service, "to turn the IDF into a university," as he put it.
Peres urged immediate approval of the 2009 state budget by the Knesset. "The lack of an approved budget will result in undesirable chicanery and uncertainty that will harm public confidence."
Commenting on the safety net for pension savings, Peres recommended spreading out debt repayments, increasing the budget deficit in a controlled manner, and cutting the interest rate. He also called on employers "not to rush to fire employees, allow unpaid leave or part-time work. Employers should assume that we can overcome the crisis rather than be broken by it."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 14, 2008
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