Sixty-six Pro-mapai Settlements Form Union; Have 23,000 Settlers

Some 25, 000 veteran farmers and youths from all parts of Israel last night attended the closing stages of a conference which saw formation of the Union of Kvutzot and Kibbutzim. The parley was held in a large national amphitheatre at Semakh, overlooking the shores of Lake Tiberias.

The Union was formed by the merger of the Association of Kvutzot and a number of Mapai-dominated settlements which recently split with the Mapam-controlled United Kibbutz Council. The new group will identify itself with the Mapai. Until the organization is fully established, the new Union will contain 66 settlements in which over 23,000 persons will cultivate some 350,000 dunams (90,000 acres) of land. A special committee was elected to complete arrangements for the transfer to the Union of Mapai minorities still living and working in Mapam-controlled Kibbutzim.

Premier David Ben Gurion, who received a tremendous ovation when he rose to address the conference, stressed the importance of the kibbutz movement in relation to the country’s economy. He called upon the new union to be ready to absorb larger numbers of immigrants, underlining the need for training 60,000 young men and women in farming and in the military arts in the next four years.

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