NEW YORK (Jul. 23)
Dr. Peretz Bernstein, member of the Israel parliament and president of the General Zionist Organization in Israel, stated over the week-end that there is an “acute awareness” in Washington “of the special importance attaching to Middle East affairs and, amongst those, to the problems of Israel in connection with the threat to world peace which has become so actual as a consequence of the Korea aggression.”
Speaking at a luncheon tendered him by the Zionist Organization of America, on the eve of his return to Israel, Dr. Bernstein, who had come to this country specially to address the organization’s 53rd annual convention, just concluded in Chicago, disclosed that he had “rather extensive talks” with officials of the State Department and the Department of Commerce who are in charge of Middle East affairs, as well as with a number of congressmen.
The stand taken by the Israel Government with regard to Korea has been “appreciated,” he said, “but apparently only as a first installment on a much larger political commitment which is patiently awaited.” He added, however, that in some quarters there seems to be “a feeling that perhaps Israel expects too much help for a state adhering to a policy of non-identification with one of the great blocs in world politics.” He declared that “the policy of providing the Arab states, and particularly Egypt, with heavy arms in considerable quantities, remains largely unexplained.”
Referring to the threat of renewed Arab warfare against Israel, Dr. Bernstein said: “The so-called second round is a threat and a possibility which cannot be dismissed lightly, but has for the time being chiefly financial and economic consequences. Perhaps the threat is so consrantly repeated for that very reason. Israel’s present struggle for its consolidation is a war waged chiefly in the field of economics and finances.
“In my Washington talks it was pointed out to me that during the last two years more American money has been invested in Israel than in any other of the adjacent Middle East countries. This is true, but those other countries have no immigration to absorb within a short time. At any rate, the comparison is not helpful since the rate of immigration dictates the scope of the necessary investment and there is a large gap between the necessity and the actual investment.”
Dealing with the question of foreign investment in Israel, Dr. Bernstein declared that an understanding is rapidly growing in Israel Government circles as well as among the population of the need for further “improvements in the investment situation,” and for a policy that would be even more “appropriate to the attraction of capital.” Dr. Bernstein praised the efforts of American Jewry and of the Z.C.A. in its program of aid to Israel. Benjamin G. Browdy, Z.O.A. president, precsided at the luncheon, while Drs. Emanuel Neumann and Samuel Margoshes greeted Dr. Bernstein.