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Council of Jewish Federations Reports on Israel’s Expansion of Agricultural Production

A report on Israel’s expansion of its agricultural production to keep pace with the immigration tide was made public here today by the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Fund. The report was submitted by Harold Glasser, director of the Council’s Institute on Overseas Studies, who just returned from a six-week study of economic conditions in Israel and Europe.

Mr. Glasser reported that more than $5,000,000 is being spent each month by the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund on irrigation, agricultural equipment, livestock and land purchase to make the Israeli farmer more productive, and to make the country self-sufficient as soon as possible. This includes the Huleh swamp drainage project–Israel’s biggest agricultural effort. Funds for these purposes, he added, come mainly from two principal sources–the United Jewish Appeal and the United States Export-Import Bank Loan.

Major problems in the settlements, Mr. Glasser said, are lack of water because irrigation has not kept pace with settlement, and the lack of farm experience and knowledge among new immigrants. “With the solution of the water problem, and with other favorable developments now in the making,” he declared, “the new agricultural settlements should make a substantial impact upon the food shortage of Israel within another year.”

During recent months, the Jewish Agency’s program for agricultural expansion has witnessed some of “the most productive work now taking place in Israel,” Mr. Glasser stressed, adding that other phases of its operation have resulted in many important and favorable economic changes. Israel’s foreign exchange position is still critical, he said. The country has maintained itself during the past nine months only through $50,000,000 in loans negotiated with European countries, large gifts of U.S. surplus commodities and increased austerity, Mr. Glasser reported.

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