2 September 2004 Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz has thrown his weight behind ORT Israels push for a greater emphasis on technological education. Mr Mofaz voiced support for ORTs priorities at the organisations annual Principals Conference last week, which drew more than 700 staff from the countrys ORT education network to ORT Hermelin College in Netanya. Education must be a top priority in Israel, said the minister. We must have eaulity of opportunity to right the social wrongs and bridge the technological and educational gaps in the outlying areas of the country. ORT Israel National Director Zvi Peleg told the conference that the Dovrat commission, whose report detailing major reform of the education system has been approved by the government, had devoted little attention to science and technology. Israels leaders must take a very firm stand in support of scientific-technological education, Mr Peleg said. I will fight to raise the status of scientific-technological education because I believe that it is the key to the economic strength of the Jewish people. Mr Mofazs late father had been the principal of an ORT school in Teheran, Iran. Technological education must become a central national objective, he said. He discussed the Atidim project that trains youth from outlying areas to serve in the technological reserves of the Israel Defence Forces. He said that about 1,300 students at technological institutions are currently involved in the program, which he had initiated, and that his goal is to have 40,000 participants by the year 2020.