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Knesset Authorizes Government Negotiate Foreign Loans; Leftists Criticize U.S. Loan

The Israel Parliament today approved a second reading of the Foreign Loan Bill under which the government is authorized to negotiate and receive foreign loans not exceeding $100,000,000.

Finance Minister Eliezer Kaplan submitted the bill last week to make it possible for the Israel Government to accept the $35,000,000 loan from the United States Export-Import Bank which was granted for agricultural development work. Mr. Kaplan asked the Parliament to give the government a free hand to negotiate new loans, emphasizing, at the same time, that “there are no immediate prospects of such loans.”

During the debate on the bill, which lasted two hours, leaders of the leftwing Socialist Mapam party argued that the loan given Israel by the Export-Import Bank ”subordinates the Jewish state to American capitalism.” These assertions were ridiculed by speakers representing Mapai, the right-wing Socialist party.