Planned Economy Only Solution for Israel, Ben Gurion Tells Jerusalem Businessmen

The absorption of the hundreds of thousands of new immigrants plus the other major economic problems facing Israel cannot be carried out in an “unplanned state where everyone does what he likes,” Premier David Ben Gurion said last night at an annual meeting of the Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce. His statement was made in reply to a demand by Kenashe Eliashar, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, that the government abandon its program of establishing socialism in the Jewish state.

Mr. Eliashar’s demand was included a program offered in the name of Jerusalem’s businessman. In addition to abandonment of socialism, its main points were:

1. Promulgation of laws encouraging the influx of private capital; 2. Dispatch, with government approval and support, of a delegation of businessmen to the United States to seek capital for Israeli enterprises and to “dispel exaggerated rumors about our socialistic regime”; 3. Proclamation of Jerusalem as the country’s capital and the transfer of government offices from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; 4. Establishment of a chain of agricultural settlements around the city; 5. Development of certain specific industries in the city; 6. Guaranteeing absolute equality between private capital and cooperative enterprises.

The Premier told the businessmen that there must be “close cooperation” between the government-planned economy and private enterprise. “We need both sectors cooperating closer on a large scale–one-sided vision brings only harm,” he said. “Both sectors must work harmoniously, not one against the other, but side by side for only thus can the state work harmoniously and overcome its difficulties, and only thus can Jerusalem reoccupy its rightful place,” the Premier added.

Mr. Ben Gurion also recalled the government’s four-year plan: encouragement of private capital; provision of special facilities for productive investments; enlargement of agricultural and workers’ cooperatives; and, special reductions in taxes for productive capital. He also outlined other measures taken specifically to aid Jerusalem’s economic recovery, including the establishment of agricultural settlements in a belt around the city, afforestation of Jerusalem’s hills and the establishment of new industries, such as printing.

Dov Joseph, Minister for Rationing and Supply, defended his austerity program as the “only means of combatting the problems raised by the mass immigration.” He revealed that the government licensing bureau will soon be transferred to Jerusalem, while another government representative disclosed that construction of the World Zionist Congress Building will begin next month.

ISRAEL WANTS NOT ONLY FINANCIAL AID FROM U.S. JEWRY, BUT ALSO MANPOWER

At a farewell party given by the General Zionist Party in Tel Aviv last night in honor of Dr. Israel Goldstein, who is returning to the United States, it was emphasized by a number of speakers that Israel wants not only financial aid from American Jews, but also manpower. The speakers included Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett, Finance Minister Eliezer Kaplan, and leading members of the Jewish Agency, including chairman Berl Locker.

The speakers asked Dr. Goldstein to convoy to the American Jews the fact that the state of Israel is not yet entirely built and that without the aid of American Jewry the Jewish state may face many dangers. Dr. Goldstein replying, said that “American Jews will be responsible if the gates of Israel are closed to tens of thousands of immigrants.”

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