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Israel Minister Takes Issue with Morgenthau on Histadrut Role

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Levi Eshkol, Israel Minister of Finance, today issued a statement taking issue with Henry Morgenthau, Jr., chairman of the board of governors of the Israel Bond Organization in the United States, who this week-end suggested that the Histadrut in Israel “get out of private business,” Mr. Morgenthau spoke at the National Economic Conference for Israel in Washington.

“The remarks made by my friend Henry Morgenthau at the third State of Israel Independence Bond Conference in Washington in connection with the function and role of the Histadrut in the Israel economy–as reported in the press–have aroused considerable astonishment,” the statement declared. “Everyone familiar with the economic and social life of the country is fully aware of the great pioneering role of the Histadrut in every branch of colonization, economic activity, security and development of the country.”

“The present economic standing and achievement of the country would have been inconceivable without the splendid pioneering activity of the workers’ movement throughout an entire generation. Israel expects that this pioneering movement will continue in the future with its activities in all fields and on all fronts of the economic upbuilding in Israel, side by side with all other constructive forces of the state and Jewish people.

“The task of upbuilding the country and its economy is tremendous. It cannot dispense with any constructive force which is capable of contributing its enterprising power and ability. Everyone is entitled to the full benefits–while at the same time obliged to fulfill all duties–of the system of freedom of enterprise and equality of opportunity which characterizes the economic life of Israel. “It is hard to conceive that Mr. Morgenthau intends to question these principles,” Mr. Eshkol concluded in his statement.

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