Press Release

Eli Hurvitz Conference: Day 2 Afternoon Sessions

Climate, AI, and Regional Cooperation: Israel at the Forefront of a Global Ecosystem

The Israel Democracy Institute's (IDI) Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society concluded Wednesday afternoon with panels on global trends and their impact on the Israeli labor market, including in the fields of artificial intelligence, climate change, and opportunities to leverage regional cooperation.

Highlights from the Afternoon

MK Yair Lapid, Leader of the Opposition: "The State of Israel today has six major strategic challenges: Gaza, the hostages, the North, the ICC and ICJ, Iran and relations with the world. If the State of Israel were to announce tomorrow that it is ready for a normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia, its situation would improve across all six of these strategic challenges. No one will issue an arrest warrant for an Israeli prime minister who is in historic negotiations for regional peace. In Gaza, this builds the international coalition that will enter there instead of Hamas ‘the day after.' In terms of the hostages, the Saudis can help put pressure and pull levers that we don't have today with Qatar and Turkey, and bring about a deal that will bring them home. The northern front will calm down If Gaza calms down; the residents of the north will be able to return home."

Minister Gila Gamliel, Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology: “The artificial intelligence revolution will indeed make some of the existing jobs redundant, but alongside this, it also creates employment opportunities that are unknown to us today, and the potential to increase productivity in certain industries and trades… International studies show that the more developed a country's economy, the higher the rate of exposure to artificial intelligence in the labor market. In a developed economy like Israel--one where the percentage of academic workers is high compared to the rest of the world--sixty percent of employees have a high rate of exposure to artificial intelligence. With this comes opportunities and potential for employees to improve and optimize their work with the help of AI, or change careers paths more easily.”

Minister Idit Silman, Ministry of Environmental Protection: "The Ministry’s underlying assumption is that Israel’s interests are and will always supersede everything else, even international organizations. Israel’s greatest challenge today is in rehabilitating the south and the north and being a light unto itself. During the war, industry and the economy require deep and comprehensive and extensive rehabilitation efforts that are currently underway. We are allocating budgets to environmental organizations, which we see as integral, and who will assist in the environmental rehabilitation of the south and the north."

Jesse Ferris, VP of Strategy at the Israel Democracy Institute opened the final, English language panel: “One of the positive developments of the last few years has been Israel’s increasing integration within the region, as evidenced by the signing of the Abraham Accords and, most recently, the extraordinary multi-national effort to intercept the Iranian missile and drone attack of April 13th At the same time, we now know that one of the key motivations for the October 7th attacks was to disrupt this process of regional integration and prevent the consolidation of an Israeli-Arab axis of moderates against the “axis of resistance” led by the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Asking the audience to put aside their doubts, for one hour, as to whether we can return to the pre-October 7 path towards regional cooperation, he called for optimism as we hear “from a group of true believers who are not deterred by all the violence.”

Andrea Pontiroli, Deputy Head of Mission, Delegation of the European Union to Israel: “We in the EU aim to reach climate neutrality by 2050, meaning no greenhouse gas by 2050. We understand that this cannot be achieved by Europe, which is responsible for only 9% of emissions, working alone… that is why we require strong regional partners.”

Yariv Becher, VP, Strategic Alliances at Startup Nation Central: “I remember we started this project about a year ago, we had a totally different reality. Understanding that we were talking about the importance of collaboration and a better future realities have now changed, but the premise of this project has only strengthened and become much more important. The recommendations will really show that.”

Gidon Bromberg, Director, EcoPeace Israel: “Regional cooperation to address climate change is not a gift, it's not a favor, it's an issue of absolute necessity for the countries in the region.”



The annual Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society—formerly the Caesarea Economic Policy Planning Forum—is widely recognized as Israel's most influential economic conference. Inaugurated in 1993 as Israel’s first major policy forum, the conference was originally conceived by Finance Minister Avraham "Beiga" Shochat and IDI founder Dr. Arye Carmon as a forum for policymakers, business leaders and academic experts to debate national policy priorities ahead of the passage of Israel’s annual budget. Each year, the Conference examines Israel's macro-economic policy and focuses on other key issues, which have included environmental policy, inequality, the war on terror, globalization, education, transparency, and local government.