In my regular column in Haaretz, my new article: “A Few Words to the President”
President Trump, I wish you a successful visit to Israel, but your success in office depends on what you do back home.
Dear Mr. President:
Welcome to Israel.
While there is naturally a lot of hype surrounding your visit to Israel, I believe that your supporters at home are eager to see you putting America first. In my view, focusing on home affairs rather than on foreign affairs is key to making your term in office meaningful and effective. One American citizen put it very clearly on “Fox News Insider”: “Remember, the people that elected you are still strongly behind you. We have your back; move forward. Do the things you promised you would do, and we’re all going to be great together.”
Joblessness in America is a constant concern, as tens of millions are living on various forms of government benefits. Such permanent inactivity is a recipe for trouble. Prolonged idleness creates crime, violence, substance abuse, and can ravage entire communities. Additionally, solidarity among Americans is at an all-time low as politics creates factions and frictions within society that impede every effort for improvement. At times, it seems as though the very nationhood of the American people is at risk.
Such challenges require innovative thinking and bold leadership. In my view, America needs a nationwide program to strengthen communities and deepen the solidarity among the American people. The program would consist of two interdependent elements that together will guarantee both the livelihood of all Americans and their national solidarity.
To guarantee people’s livelihoods, some sort of Universal Basic Income (UBI) is required in this program. However, it must not be left at that. A permanent income that does not require commitment on the part of the beneficiaries will render people inept for work and will inhibit their ability to foster healthy social ties. This will turn them into hazards to society.
Therefore, reception of UBI benefits must be contingent upon partaking in courses and workshops conducted under specific rules designed to invoke trust, connection, and reciprocity. These workshops are part of a method called Integral Education (IE), which has proven itself successful numerous times over many years, and in countless places around the world, including the US, Europe, Israel, and Russia.
IE does not restrict itself to workshops. It also provides a package of practical tools for handling emotional and social crises, and includes learning about the history of the country, state, and city where people live, so as to make participants feel connected to their local neighborhoods and to the US society as a whole. IE makes people feel that solidarity and a sense of community create more value for them than isolation and alienation.
IE can be provided to millions of people online at minimal cost. People can participate from home or at public venues such as community centers. While facilitators will still be required in classrooms, professional instruction can be given online by a handful of trained professionals from one central location.
The decrease in violence and crime, and the increase in national cohesion and positive social engagement following the IE program will drastically reduce crime and violence levels, and will slash the prevalence of substance abuse. These transformations will save vast amounts of government and municipal resources, making the IE program exceptionally lucrative.
Beyond the economic value, IE transforms communities by creating an ambience of friendliness, trust, mutual responsibility, and strong engagement in pro-social activities.
Mr. President, as a pragmatic individual, I believe you should focus on America and do what is best for the American society, as you have clearly stated in your election campaign. Implementing a nationwide IE program will turn America into a role model of social stability and national solidarity. Or, to use your words, it will “Make America great again.”
With best wishes for a successful visit and a safe return home,