WASHINGTON (Mar. 2)
An emergency conference on Israel today adopted a program of action to make $200,000,000 available for agricultural and industrial development of the Jewish State through the Israel bond issue before the end of 1952. The conferees, meeting at the Shoreham Hotel, emphasized that Israel’s existence and political future hinge on “a fateful battle of production” during the present economic transition.
The program was adopted by 250 American Jewish leaders who conferred here for two days with Mrs. Golda Myerson, Israel Minister of Labor, Ambassador Abba Eban and Henry Morgenthau, Jr. chairman of the Board of Governors of the Israel bond campaign organization. They discussed the new economic policy in Israel and the prospects for large scale development of recently discovered natural resources and the establishment of new industrial enterprises.
A cable was received from Israel President Weizmann who characterized the bond issue as “the climax of the joint effort of American Jewry and the people of Israel to cement the establishment of the Jewish State by insuring its economic security and independence.” The conference urged that all American Jews participate in a nationwide one-day house-to-house Israel bond sales campaign on Sunday, March 9.
The conferees expressed satisfaction with the reports of Mrs. Myerson and Ambassador Eban which outlined progress and prospects for greater development. However, concern was voiced over the current foreign exchange shortage which threatens to “impede the attainment of economic independence that is at hand.” The $500,000,000 Israel bond issue was depicted by the conference as the “one single factor which can determine the outcome of the present economic struggle.”
MORGENTHAU REPORTS ON SUCCESS OF BOND SALE; LAUDS U.S. JEWRY
Mr. Morgenthau, who presided at today’s session, described the results of the drive thus far as an “achievement without parallel.” He said that “not only does it constitute an extraordinary record for American Jewry” but “it is one of the most revolutionary developments in the annals of international investment and government financing. It surpasses anything that has ever been accomplished by any foreign bond issue in the United States and it is particularly outstanding because it represents not the work of any banks or investment houses, but the participation of many thousands of people in every walk of life and in every economic bracket.”
Henry Montor, vice-president of the campaign, said the bond issue is “an expression of the determination of the people of Israel to achieve self-reliance in the building of a free and creative life for themselves and their children.” The investments so far, he stated, represent “only a beginning in the wide range of project, new industries, new irrigation programs, the development of harbors and communications, the exploitation of mineral resources and the development of electric power which must be established in the immediate future.”
Mrs. Myerson, reporting on Israel’s new economic policy, said that the present economic difficulties of the Jewish State are the result of a “self-imposed transition period of hardship” to make possible the creation of a highly industrial and productive economy within the next few years. She told the conferees that “our new economic policy is not only designed to combat inflation but to increase the productiveness of our labor force and at the same time to expand industrial production for the home market and for export as well.
“The new economic policy which calls for longer working housrs, piece work and various forms of incentives for greater production will place additional hardships upon the individual citizens of Israel,” she said, “But it will also mean an acceleration of industrial and agricultural production that will being us closer to economic self-sufficiency.” Mrs. Myerson described the mineral potentials in Israel, including plans for the development of such resources as phosphates, peat, potash, iron ore, copper, and oil.
Ambassador Eban told the conferees that the hostile attitude of the Arabs forced Israel to concentrate considerable attention on military defense and thus made the Jewish State an important military factor in the Near East. He related how the ring of isolation established by the Arabs has created very serious economic problems for Israel.
The Ambassador said that as a result of the Arab boycott, Israel must spend $100,000,000 a year for food and food products and that its food fuel bill is $50,000,000 annually. “We must pay these unnecessarily inflated prices because of our lack of access to adjacent markets and sources of supply,” he said. “The essence of the Israel bond issue,” Mr. Eban said, “is the basic consideration that Israel must achieve a place in the world where it will no longer be dependent on periodic injections of foreign resources.”