NEW YORK (Nov. 14)
Pledges totaling approximately $3,000,000 in shares of the Israel Corporation of America, recently organized by Zionist leaders to foster the economic upbuilding of Israel, were subscribed at the first national ZOA Economic Conference on Israel of the Zionist Organization of America, which convened here in an all-day session today. As its first business project, the ICA has entered into a partnership agreement with the Jewish Agency for the first large-scale housing projects to be built in the Jewish state.
Dr. Emanuel Neumann, president of the Z.O.A., told the conference that the Zionist movement is now witnessing the closing of its political phase. “Commissions and committees in Paris might decide this and that,” he said, “but the authentic decision is being given in Israel itself.” The present flow of Jewish immigration, said Dr. Neumann, was “overwhelming.” He predicted that the total of immigration into Israel for the months of November and December might come to 50,000. The economic up building of the country which will follow this growth will open a rich field for American investment, the Z.O.A. head said.
Dr. Israel Goldstein, Jewish Agency treasurer, told the conference that 30,000 housing units are required to provide adequately for newcomers to Israel. This, he said, would entail an expenditure of $64,000,000. ” This is more than the Jewish Agency treasury can bear,” he said. “The Agency is therefore glad to enter into arrangements with corporation investment groups which are ready to provide a portion of the capital needed for this purpose.”
Otto Gass, economic adviser to Israel, said that the Jewish state will require a minimum of a billion dollars in private investment in the next four years in order to integrate the immigrants in the nation’s economy. He urged that American Jews, in making investments, divest themselves of a philanthropic approach. The investors, he said, must give not merely their money, but the benefit of their commercial experience and thinking.
Mortimer May, chairman of the economic affairs commission of the Z.O.A., and Albert Schiff, president of the Israeli Corporation, spoke on the general possibilities for American investment in Israel. Jacob S. Reiser, chief architect for the Israeli Government, dwelt at length on the housing shortage in Israel. The figures for 1947, he said, showed a density of three persons per room in Tel Aviv.