TEL AVIV (Oct. 7)
Official communiques today reported that the battle for two strategic heights in the Negev area was resumed by Egyptian troops, but that notwithstanding the use of tanks, aircraft and artillery, the Arabs were driven back by the Israelis who hold the positions.
Another official announcement said that there was some Arab activity in the Deir Abu Tor and Musrara sections of Jerusalem early this morning. The Jerusalem communique also stated that the U.N. raised its flag over Government House today as it formally assumed control of the neutral area surrendered by the International Red Cross last week.
An Israeli spokesman said that his government had not been consulted by U.N. headquarters in Haifa before the latter announced the organization of special convoys between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem via Latrun, with U.N. and Arab protection. He added that the Israelis would not permit their people to use such convoys until better arrangements were made for the safety of the passengers.
STANDARD OF LIVING WILL BE FORCED DOWN, ISRAELI MINISTER WARNS
In a broadcast last night, Eliezer Kaplan, Finance Minister, declared that the standard of living of the Israeli population will be forced downward in order to meet the heavy financial and economic needs of the war effort. Up to now, Kaplan stressed, aid from abroad as well as the resources of the country have paid for the war without reducing the living standard of the people.
A Jewish National Fund five-year plan involving the settlement of 10,000 persons on scores of new settlements within the first year, was announced here today by Joseph Weitz, a member of the directorate of the J.N.F. Speaking to a press conference, Weitz also revealed that the Fund will demand an option on all land offered for sale in Israel, if the land is suitable for colonization.
The five-year plan involves 1,000,000 dunams (250,000 acres) plus a larger colonization project in the Negev. It is expected that the bulk of the settlers will be veterans of the Israeli Army, if the war ends in the near future, Weitz said.
He revealed that there are some 2,000,000 acres of land in 300 Arab villages inside Israel which have been abandoned by Arab refugees. When the war is over, he stressed, the J.N.F. will have to pay compensation to the Arabs who do not return to their land. Those who do return may want to sell part of their holdings in order to be able to work the remainder of their land, he added. He pointed out that the J.N.F. will need huge sums of money for these purposes.
Weitz declared that the experiences of the war proved that strategically placed settlements along the nation’s borders are one of its best methods of defense. Settlers fighting for their homes, he said, proved better defenders than oven trained soldiers.