TEL AVIV (Oct. 18)
Premier David Ben Gurion told the United Jewish Appeal’s "emergency mission" delegation today that American Jewry should aid Israel to absorb new arrivals and develop the country not only through financial aid, but also with "technical assistance and experienced guidance."
Speaking to the American Jewish communal leaders in his office at Hakiryah, official seat of the government, the Israel Premier compared the "wilderness and wastes of the United States 180 years ago when large numbers of immigrants and refugees from all corners of the world, imbued with the pioneering spirit, streamed to the new continent and harnessed and developed America’s potentialities" with the "present hardship of Israel’s task of developing the country for the absorption of a gigantic increase in Israel’s population."
Emphasizing the Jewish state’s current needs, Mr. Ben Gurion declared that in addition to hundreds of millions of dollars, Israel needs "American know-how, engineers, chemists and building experts to help Israel perfect its professional standards."
Earlier, the delegation conferred with top government leaders including Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett, Finance Minister Eliezer Kaplan and Labor Minister Golda Myerson. Mr. Kaplan told the U.S. Jewish communal leaders that of the 150,000 immigrants expected to arrive in Israel next year, nearly 90,000 will reach the Jewish state during the first half of 1950. Mr. Kaplan stressed that 53,000 housing units must be erected next year for new immigrants at a cost of $42,000,000.
The delegates, who later visited the Beer Yaacov reception camp where 9,500 immigrants are living in tents, were also informed that if adequate funds are not forthcoming soon, there is danger that the 86,000 refugees now staying in reception centers will increase to 100,000 in the near future.
A delegation of the Joint Distribution Committee arrived in Israel last night. Minister Myerson, Mr. Locker and other Israel leaders welcomed the J.D.C. leaders at Lydda airport.