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Israel Announces Stricter Austerity; Reduces Food Rations; Doles out Raw Materials

The Israel Government has decided to tighten the austerity program in the country in order to balance exports and imports, Dr. Dov Joseph, Minister of Supply and Rationing, announced in Parliament today.

He revealed that the monthly meat ration will be reduced to 500 grams per person while the sugar ration will be limited to one kilogram per person per month. Chocolate and soap rations will be also reduced, he said.

The Israel Minister dwelt on the need for an increase in exports and said that the government has decided to institute rationing of raw materials to various factories, in accordance with their “export ability.”

The new restrictions are necessary since Israel imported approximately $62,200,000 worth of food from March 1949 to February, 1950, the Minister explained. Despite the shortage of foreign currency and many difficulties, he said, the “government succeeded in supplying all essential foods which, from a scientific viewpoint, sufficed for the citizens’ health and working capacity.” Every citizen received an equal and just share, he added.

MILITARY BUDGET IS BORDEN ON STATE, SAYS BEN GURION; FEARS AGGRESSION

Foreign aggression is still possible, therefore Israel must maintain a well-trained, fully-equipped Army, Navy and Air Force which is a heavy burden upon the state budget, Premier David Ben Gurion told Parliament, in explanation of the country’s current financial condition. “We are still far from a satisfactory situation in the three forces,” he said, adding that the budgetary pressure would be reduced somewhat when the Army is reorganized on a new basis.

With the anticipated creation of a well-trained, speedy and mobile territorial reserve force, the Army may be reduced to a minimum as far as the land forces are concerned. He stressed the need for maintenance of a full Air Force to “smash the enemy’s air force and obtain air supremecy.” The same applies to the Navy and specialized services, he continued.

Finance Minister Eliezer Kaplan told the Knesset that the government would be glad to reduce the budget, but sees no possibility for doing so. However, he said, the government has agreed to reduce the budget by some $4,000,000.

Detailing the various budgetary items, he attempted to explain that it was impossible to cut the budget for education, immigrant absorption, public health, housing and other items. He denied vigorously a report appearing in the left-wing Mapam newspaper, Al Hamishmar, stating that the Israel treasury deducts a third of the capital of all immigrants arriving from Poland and that the Polish Government has demanded that Israel discontinue this practice.

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