Gila Gamliel at JPost Annual Conference.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel said Sunday that reducing socioeconomic gaps will lead to a stronger and more secure Israel from within.
Speaking at The Jerusalem Post’s fifth annual conference in New York, Gamliel discussed social inequality, harnessing technology to reduce gaps, as well as the new coalition deal.
Gamliel noted that while Israel is at the forefront of advanced technology, the country still faces significant socioeconomic gaps, especially in the periphery and among minority groups, primarily among the Arab sector.
She noted that the cabinet recently passed a landmark billion-shekel budget for Arab citizens to reduce the social gaps and improve their living conditions.
As such, a five-year NIS 15 billion economic development plan will aim to improve education, transportation, road infrastructure, employment initiatives, housing culture, sports and other areas for the Arab sector.
Gamliel added that a part of the initiative seeks to build more police stations with Israeli-Arab policemen in Arab municipalities, which she hopes will in turn bring to more law enforcement in Arab towns as well as a stop to illegal building and arms trafficking.
She noted that the Arab sector constitutes one-fifth of the population and said that ensuring equality and improving their living conditions will “translate into a more secure Israel from within.”
The minister also laid out the new Digital Israel project, explaining how the country will use its status and know-how as the “Start-up Nation” to reduce socioeconomic gaps in education, health and employment areas.
“I strongly believe that helping to create a more equal society will also create a more secure and a stronger and better society for us all,” she said.
Regarding the new political coalition, she defended the new deal saying that it is unstable for a democracy to have elections every year or two.
She reminded the audience that when former prime minister Ariel Sharon was set to take office, there was also strong criticism of his capacity to lead. Though she said, upon taking on the role of prime minister people were positively surprised by his capabilities.
“Let us give the new defense minister a chance, let us judge him by his deeds and not preconceived notions,” she said.