Even if Israel is small in body, its scientific head is large.Excerpts from the address of President Shimon Peres at the opening of the winter session of the Knesset on October 8.
The global economy, which is based on science and technology, has made it possible for Israel to free itself from the limits of its camp and to take off to global spaces, both near and far, to participate in a world journey to a new era in which political boundaries have become lower; distances have surrendered to electronic speed; and demographic migration has begun from countries in which there is a surfeit of workers to countries which have a surfeit of work.
In this era, the economic locomotive is a greater mover than the military tank. And parallel to national governments, which are based on laws, on the army and on the police, an enormous economic capability has developed of large companies whose strength is derived from scientific and technological inventions and from good will.
This economic global ability has no precedence and, therefore, no past. And, thus, it does not rely on what has been accumulated, collected and or committed. It faces an open future. It is concentrated on discovering the secrets of nature, establishing new productive systems and developing revolutionary means of organization.
Its power is in vision and not in memory.
And the future obliges it to focus on producing alternative energy, clean water and a synthesis between high technology and clean technology.
Modern economy is global and individual at the same time. Individual talent makes it possible today to establish an economic empire, without the need for an army or a police and without conquering nations or territories.
This era makes it possible for Israel to discover hidden talents, which were not expressed previously and which had to be proven by measuring the size of the country, not only in kilometers but also by the number of scientists per square kilometer.
We have succeeded in an economic take-off and have not yet reached the peak.
[But] the fight against global warming and terror require not only national but also regional and global organization. Pollution is not checked by national customs and poisoned water does not need a visa to cross a border. Unruly weather does not need a permit and the harm to the globe’s ability to cool as opposed to the undisturbed warming by the sun present dangers.
Israel, too, is not immune to this danger and, yet, it can be a pioneering model in the attempt to halt it. Israel owes it also to itself. The Dead Sea is losing its water, and is losing its patience. Polluted water is endangering the cleanliness of the drinking water and is endangering part of the fertile soil of our region, turning it into a desert. Not only are plants becoming polluted but people’s bodies are also being harmed by the accumulated waste. It is our duty to ensure both the cleanliness of nature and the health of man and to initiate activities in all domains in the country, in the region and in the world to harness them on time.
And if we do so, we will make a unique contribution of our own to reduce these dangers.
The uniqueness of Israel is that it is small in size and rich in talents. It prevents her from becoming an industrial country and it enables her to be a research and development incubator of the first order.
Already now large international companies are investing in Israel’s research and development because they assess that even if Israel is small in body, its scientific head is large.
Israel is, for example, a transport island. It does not have an ‘abroad’ to reach by car and, therefore, it is able to be the first country to change its fleet of cars, run on petrol, to those run on electricity. Israel is already involved in this.
Israel is able to be a pioneer in alternative energy, especially solar energy and to be ahead of others in producing water (it has proved this in the past) and manage the cleanliness of the air with new methods. Israel can recruit for this purpose its outstanding potential in the field of nano-technology, to miniaturize the equipment and to make it more economical.
If Israel is able to become a daring world laboratory with a definite pilot plan it will draw back those scientists who have left as well as others to come and work here.
The pull of challenging work is no less attractive than the salary level.
Therefore, parallel to the political negotiations being conducted now, a track must be developed which will promote the standard of living of all people and produce economic peace alongside political peace, because the one will not progress without the other and both will jointly help to attain a lasting peace.
The global era and the regional reality are loaded with dangers and are not without opportunities. Israel with a moral, cultural, political, security, economic and social effort can be a focus of light in foggy days and prevent the concealment of the horizon of hope. It is difficult for Israel to be great in numbers but it is possible to be daring in quality, and to aim for security for all and peace with everyone.
Our position is a result, not of what others will do, but it represents the essence of ourselves from both strength and destiny.