TEL AVIV (Sep. 29)
Foreign Minister Moshe Shertok today left by plane for Paris to assume leadership of the Israeli delegation at the U.N. General Assembly, it was officially announced here.Premier David Ben Gurion will assume the Foreign Minister’s portfolio until Shertok returns.
As Shertok left to fight for U.N. membership and international recognition for Israel and to oppose the Bernadotte recommendations for a further partition of the Jewish state, experts here predicted that amputation of the Negev from Israel would create a ghetto nearly the size of Rhode Island and capable of supporting a population no larger than that of the Bronx.
To exclude the Negev from Israel would mean that the gates to this country would be closed to immigration long before all applicants for admission from Central Europe and the Balkans, as well as Jews from the entire Arab world extending from Algeria to Yemen, were within, it was pointed out. But even this restricted population could be absorbed only if the tiny state placed almost its entire economic emphasis upon industry. Israel would become a nation of factory towns, and the drive to “normalize” the Jewish people by means of a return to the soil would have to be considerably revised.
A miniature state, many experts feel, would not have a sound economic basis. They argue that a truncated country, lacking major raw materials for industries, would be in an adverse competitive position since it would be compelled to import virtually everything needed for an industrial economy.
Israel with the Negev, however, would be a different story. It would be a land of 6,000 square miles, slightly larger than Connecticut and a little smaller than New Jersey, which could support a population of four million. Hundreds of thousands could easily be settled in the northern third of the Negev alone; 50,000 acres could be brought under irrigation within a few years–as much land as is now irrigated in the entire nation after 40 years of pioneering. The same area could accommodate 100 settlements whereas Western Galilee, which the Bernadotte plan would give to the Jews in exchange for assignment of the Negev to the Arabs, could support a maximum of 50 settlements.