JERUSALEM (Dec. 20)
Israeli Minister of Social Welfare Golda Myerson today presented to Parliament a national social insurance bill providing for benefits for old age, accident, maternity and death. The measure is a re-draft of an earlier bill presented, but never considered, in the first Knesset.
Speaking during a debate on the government’s budget bill, which passed its first reading today, Finance Minister Eliezer Kaplan voiced support for the selective immigration policy proposed for Israel by the Jewish Agency. He also reported that the Israeli pound had dropped in value by 50 percent on the Zurich money market recently, but added that the panic sale of “hot money” had no effect on the purchasing power of the pound. He also denied that his budget would foster inflationary tendencies.
Responding to a question by an Arab deputy on the government’s responsibility for Arab refugees in Israel, the Minister declared that the government–which desires to foster a spirit of citizenship and equality among the Arab people in Israel–feels that it should take over responsibility from the United Nations for some 21, 000 Arabs designated as refugees. He stressed that the government did not want to keep these people on relief rolls but to absorb them into Israel’s economy and make them self-supporting.
Mr. Kaplan further declared that every penny collected from Moslem wages as taxes was spent for Moslem activities, adding that Arab teachers will receive the same wages as Jewish teachers from now on. He pleaded for co-operation from the Arabs in settling all problems, complaining that suspicion and agitation had deterred Arabs from going to places where they were sent for their own and the country’s good.