Israeli Government Presents Austerity and Rationing Plan to Parliament for Approval
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Israeli Government Presents Austerity and Rationing Plan to Parliament for Approval

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An overall austerity and rationing program designed to combat the high coot of living and to enable the absorption of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants arriving in Israel was today presented to the Israeli Knesseth by Premier David Pen Gurion and Dov Joseph, Minister for Rationing and Supply. A full dress debate on the program will take place in the Knesseth tomorrow.

At the very moment that the plan was being outlined in the parliament a new demonstration of jobless immigrants was in progress outside the Knesseth building. The demonstrators, who arrived in trucks, were completely orderly and code no attempt to enter the Knesseth.

The one-year plan, which would go into effect next month if approved by the Knesseth, provides for the establishment of standard meals totalling 2,800 calories daily. Those meals would be similar to those provided in British hones during 1944 and ere considered efficient for everyday needs. The plan, the details of which were presented by Joseph, calls for the issuance of ration books to all residents between May 15 and June 15.

Joseph told the parliament that the austerity program seeks to provide standard meals, clothing, furniture and household implements — thus effecting economics in manufacture and distribution. Beside establishing coiling prices on commodities, the government will grant subsidies to hold prices and will free from duty imported products urgently needed by the Israeli economy.

On the other hand, the import program will be under stringent control and a plan to cut down drastically all imports will be resented to the Knesseth shortly, Joseph announced. Local production will be standardized and the production of luxury goods will be permitted for export purposes only, with luxury imports completely barred. In the enforcement of the strict price control program, all evidences of a black market will be suppressed.


Joseph estimated that the program would save the country some $50,000,000 next year, with the savings on food alone amounting to about $4 per person. The government will attempt to cut out inefficient and uneconomical enterprises and will attempt to do away with costly middlemen, overseeing the entire distribution set-up from importer or producer through wholesale and retail outlets. The government will attempt to extend further control over industry by reserving the right to license all sorts of enterprises.

Sketching the broad outlines of the program in an hour-long speech, Ben Gurion vigorously denied that the austerity plan represents an attack on the standard of living, which the government is pledged to maintain, but rather an assault on the high cost of living. He also spoke of the (growing problem of unemployment among the immigrants.

Pointing out that this program has been necessitated by the record immigration movement, Ben Gurion categorically rejected any solution of the problem by limiting immigration. He appealed to the Jews abroad to aid the Jewish state in overcoming the gigantic task facing it.

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