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Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds Gets Report on Israel’s Problems

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Large-scale expansion of agriculture and industry is necessary to solve Israel’s foreign exchange problems and enable the new nation to become self-supporting, Harold Glasser, director of the C.J.F.W.F. Institute on Overseas Studies, reported today from Tel Aviv. Mr. Glasser points out that Israel can achieve a sound economic basis only through the process of reducing its reliance on imports from abroad.

Mr. Glasser has been in Israel since September, 1949, and is making a series of on-the-spot studies regarding “Israel’s economic and philanthropic conditions.” He will return to the United States at the end of this month to report to the communities and the C.J.F.W.F. board of directors.

“During 1950 and 1951 Israel will be importing a large amount of equipment, machinery and machinery and supplies, which are broadening the base of Israel’s productive system,” the C.J.F.W.F. Overseas Institute director declares. “The question which faces Israel is whether the expanded agriculture and industry will be able to produce the necessary commodities for the increased population; and above that, the substition of Israel products for foreign products on the one hand, and the expansion of exports on the other hand.”

To strengthen its foreign exchange position, Israel has initiated a system of import contrls designed to reduce the gap of $200,000,000 resulting from an unfavorable 1949 import-export balance, he explained. He stressed that Israel’s major problem for 1950 is the need to obtain “hard currency,” to purchase raw materials and machinery from the United States, and to make advantageous trade agreements in Europe.

“If there is a decline in the yield from American philanthropic campaigns, which are by far the largest source of dollars, and if private investment funds do not materialize on a larger scale than heretofore, there will be a serious problem arising from the inablity of Israel to buy the right things in the right places at the right time,” he stated.

Israel’s concern over its economic future, Mr. Glasser said, arises from the fact that it will be using up two major sources of foreign exchange income–the Sterling balances and the U.S. Export-Import Bank loan, which will be exhausted in 1951.These now represent $85,000,000 per year. Beyond that, the foreign exchange position of Israel must be improved to anticipate possible declines in future levels of philanthropy. Despite these difficulties, Israel’s potential of land, labor and capital in agriculture is fully adequate to perform the task of transforming the country into a self-sufficient nation, he concluded.

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