To transform a needy state into a contributing state, Israel developed an economy with limitless achievements, President Shimon Peres said on Tuesday. Yet there is still a need for Israel to enhance its relations with the world around it, said Peres who hosted the annual awards ceremony for outstanding exporters.
Alluding to recent veiled statements that failure to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians could isolate Israel in the realm of trade and commerce, and also hinting at the effect of sanctions on Iran, Peres said that economic sanctions or foreign aid are the central political mechanisms between nations. It was essential for Israel to maintain its scientific advantage and its good relations around the globe, he said. From the dawn of its creation till the present day, Israel has sought peace, he said, and after making peace with Egypt and Jordan is now negotiating peace with the Palestinians. US Secretary of State John Kerry is dedicated to this aim which has been agreed upon by both sides, Peres continued. “We thank him for his efforts, we want to strengthen his hands, and we wish for positive results.”
Turning to changing realities in the world, Peres said that direct military threats have lessened world wide including in the Middle East, and acts of terror directed at Israel have had a boomerang effect. It was essential for Israel to keep on developing her economic relations not only for the sake of her wellbeing, but also for reasons of security, said Peres, adding that there must be a synthesis between Israel’s security capabilities and her economy.
Israel is simultaneously challenged by problems of security, demography and economy he said, and for this reason, Israel must maintain standards of excellence.
Specifically addressing award winners and some of the members of their companies who also attended the ceremony, Peres noted that in the vast majority of cases, they were pioneers and idealists who did not inherit family businesses, but started out by themselves turning dreams into major success stories. “All of you not only built the state, you built yourselves,” he said.
Even though Peres had made a Freudian slip in his own remarks had referred to Economics Minister Naftali Bennett as Binyamin and not as Naftali, Bennett began his own address by heaping praise on Peres and telling him that he was not only admired but loved. “We owe you a great deal for the honor you have brought to Israel”. Every meeting with Peres, said Bennett, was akin to getting a transfusion of creativity and innovation.
Searching for a common denominator between the award winners, Bennett compared them to Moses, Karl Marx, Herzl, Einstein and even Peres in their ability to formulate a great idea and then to take the decision to execute it.
He doubted that anyone in the hall had stayed with their original idea, but they had stayed with their sense of vision, said Bennett, voicing admiration for the fact that the industrialists were competing not only on the local market but in the world at large.
Relating to changes in the work environment, Benntet said that unlike their forebears who often remained in lifetime jobs until their retirement, today’s young people will have many different careers, and many will also become entrepreneurs. It was vital to encourage entrepreneurship he said, because entrepreneurs create enterprises that create jobs.
Ormat Systems Ltd., a pioneer in solar energy was the winner of the Export Award.
The multinational award went to Cisco Systems Israel, which was established 17 years ago, and was Cisco’s first research and development facility outside the United States.
Outstanding exporters were Conduit Ltd., Enzymotec Ltd., Adin Dental Implant Systems Ltd., Moroccanoil Israel Ltd., Aromor Flavors and Fragrances Ltd., Amiad Water Systems, Hlavin Industries and Andre Mesika Ltd.
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