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Burden of Agricultural Settlement Fails on Israel Government and Jewish Agency

Cutlining the contemporary situation in land settlement in Israel, Levi Eshkol, treasurer of the Jewish Agency and head of its colonization department, declared at a press conference today that the burden of agricultural development in the Jewish state falls on the Israel Government and the Jewish Agency, since “private capital has failed to take the initiative.”

Agricultural settlement in the Jewish state, he said, is developing rapidly, Since the proclamation of the state of Israel, he reported, 230 new settlements have been founded, bringing the total number of agricultural settlements now in existence in Israel to 580.

He explained that under present plans, Israel is divided into 24 regions with current settlement plans envisaging the resettlement on the land of some 70,000-80,000 newly-arrived immigrants. This colonization program, Mr. Eshkol asserted, will cost $84,000,000, of which $28,000,000 will be provided by the government, $19,600,000 will be obtained from the U.S. Export-Import Bank loan and the remainder will come from the Jewish Agency.

The Agency official reported that large water resources had been discovered in the Negev desert, located in southern Israel. The ancient Biblical town of Beers##, which has become the hub of all Negev development and reclamation plans, is enjoying a real boom, he added.

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