Israeli Budget Presented to Knesset; Approval Would Be Equal to Vote of Confidence

Emphasizing that the opposition parties had failed to submit a better budget, Israeli Finance Minister Eliezer Kaplan last night presented to the Knesset the national budget prepared by the government and appealed for its approval.

Adoption of the budget, he said, would constitute a vote of confidence in the government. He maintained further that Israeli citizens pay far less in income taxes than do the British. The government’s income during the first ten months of the life of the state, up to April 1, 1949, he revealed, was 28,000,000 pounds, while its expenditures were less than 27,000,000.

Mr. Kaplan took notice of contentions that the government is over-staffed, declaring that the 15,000 persons on the payroll comprise one-half of one percent of the population; England, he pointed out, has two percent of its population in government service, the United States 1.7 percent.

Referring to the government’s item of 62 million pounds (about $186,000,000) for development plans, the Finance Minister emphasized that Israel alone is not able to support the ordinary budget plus defense expenditures plus development investments. The latter therefore require the mobilization of considerable capital abroad, he declared. The funds would be obtained as follows, he indicated: 20,000,000 pounds from the American loan, 10,000,000 from national funds, 20,000,000 from government sources and 10,000,000 from private and banking sources.

Outlining the progress of industry, Mr. Kaplan said that 100,000 workers were employed in 1947 in industrial enterprises, only 78,000 in January, 1948, and 101,000 in March, 1949. One hundred and fifty thousand pounds worth of import licenses are being issued each month to obtain machinery and industrial equipment, Mr. Kaplan disclosed. The government has appropriated 250,000 pounds for the development of Arab villages and resettlement of Arab refugees in evacuated villages.

Mr. Kaplan concluded with an appeal for wide support of the government’s economic policies. The budget now returns to the Knesset’s finance commission and will then be returned for final approval.

MORE THAN $25,000,000 SPENT BY TOURISTS VISITING ISRAEL

David Remez, Minister for Communications, said last night during the Knesset debate on the Israeli budget that his department is currently providing employment for 25,000 workers. With the arrival of new equipment made available through the United States loan, he said, thousands more will find jobs.

Some 50,000 air travelers and thousands of ship passengers visited Israel since the establishment of the state, Mr. Remez declared, spending a total of $25,500,000, of which $9,000,000 have accrued to Israeli shipping interests.

Mr. Remez also announced that the Israeli El Al air line had completed preparatory work to start operations soon, and also that Israeli shipping would shortly be increased appreciably.

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