Knesset Reconvenes; Ben Gurion Outlines Government’s Plans for Economic Recovery
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Knesset Reconvenes; Ben Gurion Outlines Government’s Plans for Economic Recovery

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Premier David Ben Gurion, addressing the Knesset deputies who reconvened here last night after a two-month recess, outlined the achievements of the present Israel Government during its eight months of tenure and disclosed a series of proposals designed to carry the Jewish state through its present economic difficulties.

Attending the opening session wee Israel President Chaim Weizmann and a large representation from the diplomatic colony in Israel. Distinguished guests from abroad also witnessed the Knesset’s session.

"Operation Afforestation"–designed to plant hundreds of millions of trees on 1,250,000 acres in the "wastes of the Negev extending to the port of Eilath on the Gulf of Aqaba and along the boundaries and highways of the country"–was outlined by the Premier. He revealed that the government has invited afforestation experts from Italy and Argentina to come to this country to aid in the new program. He also said that a request for the loan of Russian experts has been forwarded to the Soviet Union.

Mr. Ben Gurion disclosed the government’s plans to plant 125,000 acres yearly in order to restore the "country’s fertility, prevent dislocation of the soil and improve general climatic conditions." He pointed out that the project will afford employment to tens of thousands of presently jobless residents of immigrant reception camps.


Mr. Ben Gurion declared that the Israel Government "opposed and continues to oppose the slightest restriction on immigration, despite the difficulties of absorption." The expediting of immigration "is a matter of conscience for the Jewish people," he declared. He urged Jews throughout the world, particularly the American Jewish community, to "display maximum efforts for helping the government double the country’s population" and warned that unless such aid was forthcoming, "immigration was doomed to failure."

The government, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency, he asserted, has planned the resettlement of 50,000 immigrants in 150 new colonies by the end of the current fiscal year. Cost of this project, he said, will be 28,000,000 pounds $(78,400,000). Plans for creation of an agricultural bank in the near future to aid young agricultural settlers and orange grove planters were also outlined by the Premier. "Our objectives," he declared, "are to reach a situation where all fertile areas in the country will be cultivated and will produce the country’s entire food requirements, with possibilities for export."

Mr. Ben Gurion continued: "There are parties protesting the country’s present boundaries–a contingency we cannot ignore, but the most pressing contestant is the presence of huge wastes of land which must be completely eliminated through total afforestation."

The Premier, who was scheduled to continue his address late today, left the Knesset meeting with President Weizmann and other top government leaders to attend a reception at the Soviet legation here arranged in honor of the 32nd anniversary of the October revolution.

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