Dealing with terrorism and the economic crisis will be the two greatest challenges of the first 100 days of his government, Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday. Netanyahu's comments came after a team he set up to chart the goals of his first 100 days presented him with its first report. "We are going to need to reduce as much as we can the wave of firings and turn it into a wave of hiring through a return of economic growth," he said. "We don't have the ability to stop the firing of every worker or prevent the closure of every factory; it will take us time. We will need to pass a budget during the beginning of the government, as well as an economic program." During the first 100 days of the government, Netanyahu said, "we will need to make decisions regarding security and the economy. Those are huge challenges alongside important reforms in educational and personal security." Netanyahu's 100-days team is headed by MK Yuval Steinitz and includes Uzi Arad, who is expected to be named head of the National Security Council under Netanyahu; Ron Dermer, one of Netanyahu's top aides; Avigdor Yitzhaki, the director-general of the Prime Minister's Office under Ariel Sharon; Izzy Tapoohi, a businessman and former Likud treasurer; and MK Gilad Erdan. Among the committee's recommendations were:
ways to get the 2009 budget, which has not yet been passed, approved quickly by the Knesset, along with some changes and updates inserted as a result of the current economic crisis;
urgently dealing with ways to protect jobs and prevent rampant unemployment;
developing an effective "interface" with the new Obama administration, and planning Netanyahu's first visit to Washington as the new prime minister.
reforms in education and in fighting crime;
suggestions for stabilizing the government through legislative changes, without completely overhauling the system of government or sweeping electoral reform.
In addition, the committee dealt with the possibility of appointing a point man to deal with economic and security issues with the Palestinian Authority; appointing a committee, to be headed by Netanyahu, to promote the status of Israeli Arabs and Druse; and setting up a "social-economic" dialogue between the government, the Histadrut, manufacturers and social organizations to deal with the economic crisis.