ATLANTIC CITY (Sep. 14)
Responding to a call from Premier David Ben Gurion to help Israel achieve transition to economic self-sufficiency, more than 1,100 delegates to the second National Economic Conference for Israel wound up four days of deliberations with the unanimous decision to enroll an additional million Americans as subscribers to the Israel bond drive, which the Israel Premier characterized as “an indispensable factor in the young country’s efforts to achieve economic stability.”
Mr. Ben Gurion, in a specially filmed talk, which reached here by plane yesterday, advised the delegates that “your success in the coming months will have a direct bearing on the pace of our development and our ability to emerge from this transition period.” He expressed the hope that every friend of Israel will give his active cooperation to further the sale and purchase of Israel bonds, which he added is providing the resources needed “to transform Israel’s potential resources into actual assets.”
Mr. Ben Gurion informed the delegates that Israel is already “well on its way to its goal of living on its own resources.” He pointed out that since 1948 the cultivated areas of Israel have been increased four and one-half times and added that “we shall be able within a reasonable number of years to be practically self-sufficient in food requirements.” He further said that “our economic exports forecast the possibility of our achieving a balance of payments within the next six to ten years.” However, he emphasized that the “Israel bond drive is an indispensable factor in helping our people to maintain financial stability and to achieve the transformation of our resources into assets.”
Praising the “magnificent efforts of American Jewry,” Mr. Ben Gurion said that the accomplishments of the Israel bond drive become apparent when measured against the amount of investments made generally in underdeveloped countries over the globe since World War II.
The decisions of the National Economic Conference for Israel, which met to consider methods of providing the investment capital to speed Israel on her way to economic independence, were based upon the conclusions presented to the closing session by the Israel Bond Planning Commission. The commission consisted of more than 25 leading business and communal figures who spent two weeks in surveying Israel’s economic achievement and needs in order to be able to submit its on-the-spot findings to the conference here for action.
Benjamin Abrams, President of Emerson Radio and Television and general chairman of the Israel Bond Committee in Greater New York, who was a member of the planning commission, outlined the following major objectives of the bond drive:
1. The exploitation of Israel’s mineral and chemical resources such as phosphates, kaolin, copper, manganese, etc.
2. The expansion of its harbors and the building of new ports.
3. The construction of new railroads.
4. The building of many thousands of additional housing units to accommodate 250,000 recent immigrants who are still without permanent homes.
5. The expansion of cultivated areas through large-scale regional and irrigation projects.
6. To foster the development of existing industries through loans.
7. To establish new industrial areas in Jerusalem, Beersheba and other outlying districts.
8. To promote tourist trade, and
9. To improve and expand telephone and telegraph communications and equipment.
ISRAEL BONDS WILL HELP ISRAEL ACHIEVE PEACE, EBAN SAYS
In a major policy address, Ambassador Abba Eban of Israel portrayed Israel bonds as a key factor in bringing peace to the Middle East. Pointing out that Israel’s most decisive remaining task, the establishment of harmonious relations with her neighbors, requires a combination of economic strength, military vigilance and diplomatic skill, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States declared that the purchase of Israel bonds is “an act not only of financial aid but of international conciliation: for it assures the indispensable basis of strength for the establishment of Israel’s relations with its region and its continent.”
“I do not doubt, “Mr. Eban said, “that these two kindred people will one day unite their strength to build on the shores of the Eastern Mediterranean a civilization worthy of their ancient and medieval past. I have an intuitive feeling that some turning point in Arab-Israel relations might even now be near, if tensions were not irresponsibly renewed by the annual routine of public denunciation in international councils.”
Discussing the importance of Israel bonds he said: “When will it be understood that the purchase of Israel bonds is the most essentially political act that a Jew has been able to perform since the destruction of the temple: for it is an act of which the stake and consequence is nothing less than the survival of our lives, the freedom of our home, and the identity of our nation?”
It is a matter of “deep consolation,” he noted, to record that a year of substantial progress in the relationship between Israel and the American people was crowned by the reaffirmation at Chicago by both major political parties of their special sympathy for Israel. The American Jewish community, he observed, has the opportunity to strengthen the growing ties which unite Israel and America.
HEALTH MINISTER REPORTS ON ISRAEL’S FIGHT FOR STABILITY
A report of Israel’s program to achieve economic stability was presented to the conference by Dr. Joseph Burg, Minister of Health of the Jewish State, who arrived here earlier this week. Dr. Burg said that the increase in industrial and agricultural production is the paramount problem facing the people of Israel. To meet this problem, he declared that the Government of Israel earlier this year adopted a new economic policy designed to curb inflation, increase productivity through incentive plans for workers, reduce consumption of non-essential goods and expand the production of items for export. As part of the program of self-denial undertaken by the people
Dr. Burg said that Israel today has natural resources which could not be “dreamed of ” when it achieved statehood only four and a half years ago. “The Negev desert is now the focal point of our greatest opportunities for economic success, but the fact that we have great quantities of phosphates, kaolin, ball clay, copper, manganese, and other mineral and chemical resources represents only the first stage. These resources can be transformed into the substance of success only if we have the investment capital to exploit them, to provide transportation, machinery and factories.”
OUR INVESTMENT IN ISRAEL SOUND, HEAD OF EXPORT-INPORT BANK SAYS
Any resentment which the Arab world may feel toward the United States as a result of American economic aid to Israel will disappear when the Arabs realize that it is in their interest to live at peace with Israel, Herbert E. Gaston, chairman of the Export-Import Bank, declared in an address to the conference earlier. Mr. Gaston praised the leaders of the Israel Government for their efforts to achieve harmony in the Middle East.
Referring to the fact that since the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948, the Export-Import Bank has granted loans amounting to $135,000,000 to Israel, Mr. Gaston said that the bank “considers our investment in Israel as a sound and good investment,” adding that “we expect to see the credit to Israel maintained.”
Discussing the loans made to Israel, he said that “they have helped materially in developing the agricultural and industrial economy.” He paid tribute to Israel as a “brilliant pilot project in modern economic and cultural development that will continue to stand as a pattern for emulation by other people. ” He highlighted the importance of the Israel bond drive when he emphasized that further extensive capital investments are needed to make “the Israeli economy as nearly self-supporting as it is possible to make it.”
Greater opportunities for private enterprise in Israel can be created through government planning and development of basic industries with the aid of Israel bonds. Henry Morgenthau, Jr., chairman of the board of governors of the State of Israel bond drive, told the delegates yesterday. Mr. Morgenthau said that “Israel bonds are making possible investments in basic industries which are laying the groundwork for a prosperous economy built up on mutual cooperation between government and private enterprise.” Declaring that private capital in Israel “is no different from private capital in any other part of the world, ” he said private capital has been “timid and reluctant” in establishing new horizons of industrial growth and that government capital derived through the sale of Israel bonds was necessary to develop electric power, harbors, transportation, railroads and irrigation to expand the country’s productive capacity.
“I urge the United States Government to undertake now an all-out drive with all the diplomatic resources available to us to get the Near East states into the Middle East Command and to attain regional cooperation for the defense of that area,” RepJacob Javits declared in a speech to the conference. “The settlement of differences between Israel and Egypt is the key to the negotiation of peace between Israel and all the Arab states. It will prove a key also to the resettlement of the Palestine-Arab refugees which continues to be the most nettling problem in the Near East, ” he insisted.
Louis Segal, chairman of the administrative committee of Labor Zionists for Israel Bonds, reported that during the past 16 months labor groups have sold a total of $12,000,000 in bonds, accounting for nearly 10 percent of the total sales. The Labor Zionists will open a special three-month sales drive in honor of Eliezer Kaplan, late VicePremier and Finance Minister of Israel.