JERUSALEM (May. 10)
Israel Finance Minister Eliezer Kaplan today presented his 1950 national budget–asking over $341,000,000–to the Parliament. At the same time, he presented a three-hour report on the state of the nation, the gains recorded in the past fiscal year, and the major projects which the government hopes to start or complete in the next 12 months.
Speaking to a packed chamber, Mr. Kaplan reported first that the population of the Jewish state now stands at 1,250,000, including some 170,000 non-Jews. Simultancously with a 65 percent increase in population in the past two years, Israel’s national output increased 35 percent and its agricultural output went up 50 percent. A total of some 120,000,000 pounds ($336,000,000) have been invested in the country since 1947, he added.
Speaking of the economic gains scored in the last fiscal year, the Minister disclosed that the cost of living index has dropped by 15 percent. He credited the rigid government austerity program for this development. He asserted that it was the government’s aim to increase the standard of living, but that this aim can only be achieved by incroasing the national productivity. Every demand for an increase in wages or income without a corresponding increase in productivity will inevitably bring inflation, he insisted.
Last year, he continued, purchasing power increasod, bank deposits were up 40 percent and the turnover in foreign currency rose 48 percent. The country imported 88,000,000 pounds ($246,400,000) worth of goods and exported nearly 11,000,000 pounds ($30,800,000) worth.