Israel Standard of Living in Danger, Ben Gurion Warns; Asks Increased Productivity
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Israel Standard of Living in Danger, Ben Gurion Warns; Asks Increased Productivity

The present standard of living of the Israel worker in great danger, Premier David Ben Gurion today told a special meeting of members of Mapai labor councils from all parts of the country. The parley was called to answer attacks on the Histadrut executive for agreeing to government requests for a second cut in the cost of living bonus.

Mr. Ben Gurion pointed out that during the last year the national income was only 200,000,000 pounds, the equivalent of 16 pounds($45) per month per person. The purchasing power of the Israel pound is presently only half that of the pound sterling, he said. (Both are pegged at the same value in relation to the dollar — $2,80) Unless the productivity of the individual worker increases and production and export increases, the value of Israel’s currency will drop, the Premier warned.

The government intends to raise the value of the pound by lowering the cost of living, he asserted, and will increase the national income by boosting production. Unless the government succeeds in both these aims, it will also fail in attracting new foreign capital, he insisted. The direct cause for the lowering of the Israel standard of living is the unprecedented and large-scale immigration, he stated.

Turning to the Histadrut’s internal problems, he charged that the present struggle between the Mapai, on one hand, and the Mapam and Communists, on the other is more than a mere party struggle for power. It declared that it is a "life and death struggle between Socialist-Zionism and Communism, between which no bridges exist."

Three-quarters of all Israelis are opposed to any sort of restrictions on the continued immigration of Jewish refugees to this country, it was reported here today by the Public Opinion Research Institute. Only 25 percent of the persons questioned in the poll expressed approval of placing restrictions on immigration.

Meanwhile, a new United Jewish Appeal mission, invited by the Jewish Agency to study immigration and resettlement needs on the spot, visited the immigration camp at Beer Yacov over the week-end and toured the Haifa district. The mission includes U.J.A. leaders from seven leading cities of the United States: Leo Galling of Los Angeles, Sanford Treguboff of San Francisco, Herman Pekarsky of Newark, Henry Zucker of Pittsburgh and Elkan Voorsanger of Milwaukee.

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