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Israel Parliament Committee Studies Jerusalem Economic Situation

The Knesset Economic Committee yesterday devoted a special meeting to discussing the economic affairs of Jernsalem. When the committee session closed last night, after hearing a number of representatives of various groups in the city, it still aeeded more time to work out a proposed program for lifting the capital city out of the economic doldrums.

Representatives of industry in the city blamed the high cost of water and electric power for keeping down the city’s industrial development. The builders and industrialists demanded that the government grant priority to projects designed to increase building and development in this city.

Other witnesses reviewed the food situation, pointing out that the city had been cut off from the rich Hebron area by the Arabs and that the settlements in the Jerusalem corridor had not yet developed to the point of fully supplying the local food market. As a result, much of the city’s produce must be shipped in from a distance, raising the cost of food to a higher level than in any other area of the country. In addition, it was stated, the area’s inability to become self-sufficient was a danger to its defense situation.

Labor officials, reporting on the unemployment situation in Jerusalem, suggested that if the temporary immigrant villages in the city’s vicinity were liquidated and permanent housing built for them, the building industry would boom locally and would help the economic situation. A number of specific proposals were also made by officials of the Trade and Industry Ministry.

An agreement was signed last night by the Israel Government and the Jewish Agency for the construction of a convention center in Jerusalem, part of which would be used by the Israel Parliament. It is estimated that the buildings used by the Knesset will cost 2,500,000 pounds.

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