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Josi Sarids dringende Warnung:
Die Spaltung der Gesellschaft Israels

The following was taken Israeli  Minister of Education Yossi Sarid's 
remarks at the 2000 Israel Prize ceremony, held in Jerusalem on May 10, 2000.

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This year the Israel Prize is granted to a very special group of people - 
people of excellence, treasured  people, and people who have contributed.  
They respect the prize no less than the prize respects them.  
It is a great privilege for me as Minister of Education to take part in 
this very special occasion and the granting of these prizes.

Le16 Jerusalem Appartement

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Even on this very special evening, I would like to share with you my greatest concern, because in the reality in which we live in, it is difficult to separate between joy and worries, and it is even impossible and even forbidden to separate the two.

It is also difficult to separate between pride and shame, and we are proud of many wonderful things which have taken place here in the past 52 years, but pride can blind, and can sometimes make it difficult to see on the light shining through.

"Israel leads the developed world 
in the area of the social gap!"

A week ago the Government of  Israel held a special session and heard from a very reputable researcher about the country's situation - on the state of our society. According to the statistics - there is no doubt - the State of Israel leads the developed world in the area of the social gap.

It is hard to believe and hard to comprehend this, but this is a very clear and sharp fact, which cuts through the flesh, and is very painful.  How could this happen to us?  How have we  sunk to this social low, which is also a moral low?  It is also especially hard to believe, to understand and to explain - that 52  years ago, when we began, that Israel had more equality than in the West.
And all of a sudden - it is not at all clear when - we have strayed from the course and have not been able to get back.

The "Light unto the Nations"  is now murky, because it has become murky due to the depth of the gap between rich and poor, between the strong and the weak.  From these depths the little boys and girls call out to us, and hold out their hand so we can hold them, and not let them fall.

"Be mindful of the children of the poor, 
because Torah will sprout from them".

Since I became Minister of Education I see these boys and girls
before me, and they see us, and I ask myself  if we will be able to keep seeing each other.

The State of Israel is number one when it comes to the gap, but it is the last country that can allow itself to have this gap.  The ethnic stitches are still untied, and the wounds are still left open, and they have not yet been come together - the stiches - and the  wounds have not yet healed, under the conditions of social tension.

In our Israel, the demands made of  its citizens are much greater than any other developed country. Therefore, Israel is, according to the doctrine of its founders, according to its vision, and according to its special predicament and according to its demands, must be a more equitable society than any other one.  Israel must be a country of social justice.

More than once, we have been tempted to believe that Israeli society is especially cohesive. When we have, heaven forbid, a tragedy, when disturbances break out, we all share the concern, and we discover amongst us beautiful displays of identification and support.  But not only during a tragedy or disturbances is our cohesiveness tested. It is tested first and foremost in everyday life, and not only when soldiers are killed in Lebanon, and when katuyshas fall in Kiryat Shemona.

The cohesiveness during unrest is natural, it is expected. But we have among us hundreds of thousands of men and women, girls and boys, who awaken every morning in the development towns, in the poor neighborhoods and in the Arab villages - who awake into the reality of tragedy and unrest.

Anyone who is unemployed and wakes up in the morning - lives a daily tragedy.  Any one who wakes up in the morning under the poverty line  - lives a life of constant upheaval. Any boy or girl who comes to school with a worn-out shoe or without a book, because mother or father cannot afford it - is a victim of a great social tragedy.  And there is no cohesiveness and no mutual caring for, because if there were, we would not have reached this gap, and not have settled for it, and we would have worked from morning till night to narrow  this gap.

"Be mindful of the children of the poor, because Torah will sprout from them", and this is the biggest threat facing us, more than any other threat from within us or from outside.

Many people in Israel - too many people, are so not aware of where they live, because they do not know how other people live, and they need the State Comptroller's report to realize this.  Now we do know, and from this very real knowledge and this cruel reality - will be born a will and an ability to change and amend.

I believe that Israeli society has not lost its sense of shame. And from within this shame there is a great ability to change - I almost said "change at the last minute", because it is late, nearly midnight.  I believe in Israeli society, because the Jewish people have a tradition of being responsible for each other and providing mutual help.

I believe in Israeli society, because it is a society that is still searching for vision, because without vision the people will be torn apart and be disbanded, and the social cohesiveness is our vision. And this will happen, and the time is now.

From here on, from this evening on, we shall say to all of the children of the country - religious and secular, Jews and Arabs - you are our beloved children, our first commitment is to you.

We will certainly bring you out of the distressed slavery and into the freedom of well being.  You shall be the last generation of social unrest and the first generation of a correct society, that identifies with, is involved with and cares for others, in an unselfish way - not merely for pleasure, and not in an indifferent way.

As someone who belongs to the left-wing in Israel, I say:  If we forsake you, boys and girls, let our left hand lose its cunning.   I believe in a society in which its two pillars are justice and well-being, and not profit and charity. I believe in an Israeli society  that  does not forsake its commitment to raising up the poor.

We, the citizens of Israel, cannot allow ourselves to remain on Mount Nevo and look across at The Land. We are here in The Land, it is ours, it is precious to us, we do not look upon it from a distance, we are building it up and watching over it.

Therefore, after 52 years, we must finally reach the Promised Land , to the Land that Promises, and the biggest promise of them all is the most equitable society in the world.

Communicated by Rivka Shraga, Spokeswoman of the Israeli Ministry of Education,  Contact David Baker, Jerusalem: Tel: 972-2-560-3408, 972-2-560-3700. Fax: 972-2-560-3706.  E-mail:

haGalil onLine 14-05-2000

Ferienwohnung in Israel - Tel-Aviv


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