Remarks by Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

Kiryat Gat There was a harsh debate on the question of whether or not we should provide Intel all the necessary support, amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars needed to back their investment. It is an unprecedented investment in the history of the State of Israel. It should be clear: Intel is establishing the FAB 28 and upgrading the FAB which is already active here – in the total amount of almost $5 billion, here in Israel and in Kiryat Gat. We have seen great investments in the past, but never has there been such an investment. Whoever asks himself how the global economy sees the State of Israel – what the perspectives are, what the hope for economic prosperity is and how people from overseas who possess tremendous resources which could change the face of the Israeli economy, see us – should look at Intel. Whoever is presently investing $5 billion in the State of Israel, is one who is saying that Hamas doesn’t scare him, terror doesn’t frighten him and he has faith in the State of Israel, in the economic stability of the State of Israel, in the Government of Israel and in the people of Israel. This is the meaning of the decision to presently invest $5 billion in Israel and its economy. Everyone understands that it will take a few years before these $5 billion will bear fruit. Intel has always demonstrated far-sightedness. They started investing here over 30 years ago and were the leading force which paved the way for IBM, Motorola and many other firms around the world who followed Intel, and not one of them regrets this.

Intel, gentlemen, is getting a great deal. It is investing in a country with extraordinary potential. It is investing in a country which has a greater innovation and ingenuity skills in technological sophistication than most countries in the world. It is maintaining in the State of Israel the most sophisticated development centers in the hi-tech industries, especially in the research-oriented industry, compared with anywhere else in the world. They will earn a great deal of money, and we will gain numerous employment opportunities and will also earn a great deal of money. And, subsequently, more will follow Intel, and we will establish more factories, create new jobs, develop communities and build infrastructures. Thus, our economy and the State of Israel will take a large step forward. I am pleased that in the great argument (it is no secret) between the Ministry of Industry & Trade and the Ministry of Finance, those who supported the establishment of Intel in the investment of $5 billion, had the upper hand. I can say that in recent months the improvement of relations between the Minister of Industry & Trade and the Minister of Finance made it a little easier. But this decision is the right one, and is an important step in developing the Israeli economy. A second remark, and with that I will conclude: now and in the coming years we will invest tremendous resources in developing the southern and northern periphery of the State of Israel. All areas in the country are important, all the country’s populations and sectors matter. Nonetheless, we all know the truth. The areas in the periphery suffer greater social hardship, offer less employment, and its infrastructure is less developed. The result is that the quality of life often does not reach that threshold which we consider to be a precondition for a society which enjoys solidarity, maintains a quality of living and preserves the dignity of all citizens. We have recently approved an investment of NIS 17 billion for the development of the south of the country and the Negev in the coming years. This is an enormous investment and we are presently formulating plans for parallel investments in the north of the country as well. I genuinely believe that in the coming years the south of Israel will be transformed from a desert to a blooming, prosperous, built-up and qualitative land. And when we reach this goal, Intel will be able to say: “We determined the direction, we provided the momentum, and we added an extra dimension of quality, progress and prosperity to the Israeli economy”.