"The industrial park project is the first of its kind in the Arab sector, and is meant to create a change in the city of Nazareth and in the nearby communities and will lead the industry in the region and contribute to employment in the area and the relations between Jews and Arabs," Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Elizer said Thursday at a cornerstone laying ceremony for the Nazareth industrial park, which was the brainchild of industrialist Stef Wertheimer.
Authority heads, council members, businesspeople and industrialists attended the ceremony. Minister for Minority Affairs Avishay Braverman, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer and Nazareth Mayor Ramez Jaraisi were also present.
European Union Ambassador to Israel Andrew Stanley and the industrial park's manager Shawki Khatib were also at the event.
From left: Jaraisi, Ben-Eliezer, Fischer, Wertheimer and Braverman at event
Minister Ben-Eliezer noted during the ceremony that, "the industrial park will provide a solution to the employment problem in the area and will serve as a magnet for factories and businesses that will benefit from a developed industrial zone with sophisticated infrastructure, convenient transportation access, and a skilled and diverse workforce."
The minister went on to say that the project symbolizes the development of the periphery and the promotion of Jewish-Arab coexistence. He said, "The utmost importance and weight should be given to industrial development and employment in the minority sector, all the more so when it comes to projects that constitute a meeting point between Arabs and Jews."
Ben-Eliezer added, "The Arab population demonstrates much potential and ability to largely contribute to Israel's economy. We must know how to make the most of this potential. The low rate of these populations' participation in the workforce above all hurts us as a country.
"The social gaps in our country lead to significant social issues that jeopardize the possibility of coexistence here in Israel. I hope actions such as this project will serve as a base and role model for the desired change for egalitarian life here in the land of Israel."
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