Large-scale Economic Program to Absorb 200,000 Immigrants Outlined to Congress
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Large-scale Economic Program to Absorb 200,000 Immigrants Outlined to Congress

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A large-scale economic program to make possible the absorption within a short time of 200,000 immigrants was outlined to the World Zionist Congress today by Emil Scmorak, head of the economic department of the Jewish Agency. It calls for the following measures:

1. Priority must be given to expenditures for projects which will provide more employment.

2. Allocation of substantial sums for the expansion of agriculture and of urban and rural colonization, with emphasis on close cooperation between public and private funds.

3. Two-thirds of available public funds from regular sources should be divided equally between agricultural projects, and urban economy, with the balance being used for miscellaneous enterprises. At least half of any additional funds, which might be derived from reparations or loans, should be assigned to urban colonization.

4. One central bureau should be created to supervise the various Jewish Agency economic activities to prevent over-lapping of functions.

Presentation of this program today came on the heels of a two-hour report to the Congress finance commission last night, by Eliezer Kaplan, treasurer of the Agency, who submitted a budget of $60,000,000 for next year and urged the adoption of a central budgeting system for Jewish national institutions. He called for an overall budget based on the need of all institutions, prepared with their aid and consultation, but administered by a central agency rather than by local bodies in various countries.


Reviewing the economic situation in Palestine, he said realities have proven that fears that the transition from a war economy to peace-time production would bring a crisis in Palestine were baseless. But, he warned, sooner or later Palestine economy must face the problem of competing with other national economies in the world market. He asserted that both labor and capital would have to make further efforts to meet such competition.

He reported on the campaign to increase production by expansion of Palestinian industries disclosing that the Agency has allocated large sums of money to purchasing machinery and raw materials in America for use by Palestinian industry. He said that the Agency is now studying the problem of long-term credits within the country and may have to convert and consolidate some of its loan facilities. About 150 agricultural settlements and many industries were still dependent upon Agency financial assistance, he disclosed.

Stressing that the Zionist movement has undertaken a gigantic burden in extending colonization of the Negev, Kaplan stated that the cost of one cubic yard of water in the desert is approximately six dollars. He reported the establishment of a $10,000,000 holding company to finance the construction of housing throughout Palestine. He said that he had informed the Anglo-American inquiry committee that the transfer of 100,000 displaced Jews from Europe would cost the Agency $120,000,000.

Kaplan concluded his report with a description of negotiations for a loan with financial institutions in London and New York which had fallen through because of the uncertain political situation. He said, however, that the negotiations might resume when political circumstances change.

Hyman Hollander, an American Zionist, was named temporary chairman of the finance commission which today turned its attention to a detailed study of Kaplan’s report and recommendations. Hollander’s election is considered significant in that it highlights the importance of the American role in the financial structure of the Zionist movement during coming years.

Leib Jaffe, a director of the Keren Hayesod, urged the Congress to take steps to ensure that the Keren Hayesod and the Jewish National Fund shall be given priority over all other appeals for funds for Zionist activities. He reviewed the activities of the organization since the last Congress, pointing out that the U.S. has become the greatest source of funds, and that Jews in South American countries are now contributing more than $1,200,000 yearly.

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