Speaking at the Globes Israel Business Conference on Sunday, President Reuven Rivlin stressed the importance of incorporating different sections of Israeli society in the workforce.
“The Gini index that measures inequality in income distribution finds a very high degree of inequality in Israel in comparison with the rest of the world. This year, however, the gaps narrowed, mainly because of Haredi men and Arab women joining the workforce,” the President said. “The removal of obstacles to Haredi men and Arab women and the integration of the various sectors and tribes into Israeli industry and the Israeli economy is a first step that we must take, and that you, the leaders of the economy, are capable of taking, now.”
“You must understand that if more sections of the population in the State of Israel do not join the circle of work and employment, in the end you will have no way to grow, and nowhere to grow, and there will be nobody able to buy your goods and services,” President Rivlin continued, “We are in the same boat here, and if the gap between one side of the boat and the other becomes too great, it will sink.”
“In the past eighteen months, the President’s Residence, together with leading Israeli companies, have initiated the Collective Impact venture in Israel’s Arab society,” Rivlin told the conference. “We have formulated clear measurements of integration, and in my meetings with heads of the economy, I see how things are happening, how the DNA of companies changes, becomes more diverse, and that is almost always for the better.”
“I’m not saying there are no challenges,” he noted, adding that “sometimes such integration creates pressures, and when tension between the different sectors of the population rises, the pressure in offices and in factories also rises. But, as I said, we have no choice. It is right and good for every commercial company to reach more and more sectors, not just as providers of services, but also as employers.”
In the end, according to Rivlin, “the main challenge we face lies in our ability to adopt scientific change and progress, and at the same time to take appropriate steps to reduce as is reasonably possible our levels of social gaps and to preserve the social fabric and solidarity between the different tribes.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, I call on all of you to sign up for the challenge together with me,” President Rivlin concluded. “We shall all make our best efforts to promote the economy of the future, with energy, confidence and daring, and with great faith in the spirit of man.”