Aluf Benn
March 16, 2009 - 12:00am

A panel of expert advisors have told Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu to devote his attention to negotiations with Syria, thereby creating a chance for regional peace.

The panel comprises prominent figures who formerly served in key posts in the defense establishment, government and the business community. The group is offering its services as a "strategic think-tank" to aid the new government in crises management and decision-making, and submitted its major recommendations at a symposium Sunday with Netanyahu's "first 100 days" advisors.

Among the proposals was a multi-stage plan to deal with the Iranian threat. The plan calls for the creation of a civilian body to coordinate multi-faceted efforts to curb Tehran's nuclear program, including preparations for possible military strikes, legal action against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and sanctions.

The team includes the former head of military intelligence, Amos Malka; strategic advisor Haim Asa; the former CEO of Africa-Israel, Erez Meltzer and the outgoing cabinet secretary, Oved Yehezkel. Former Israel Air Force chief Eliezer Shkedi is expected to join the group in the near future.

The group will look to advise various arms of the government, including the Prime Minister's Bureau, the National Security Council, the Foreign Ministry, and the Defense Ministry. In addition, it hopes to enhance the administration's assessments by presenting alternative opinions.

Strategic advisor Haim Asa offered the incoming Netanyahu government three policy proposals: focusing efforts on negotiations with Syria so as to lay the groundwork for a regional peace agreement; changing the system of government with an emphasis on transferring control of budgetary departments to the Prime Minister's Office; and the creation of a massive state-run industrial effort to manufacture unmanned aircraft. The latter project would answer a vital need for the IDF and help provide jobs for laid-off high-tech workers.


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