NEW YORK (Apr. 8)
Despite Arab border attacks and the pressure of economic boycott which have created a serious drain on Israel’s economy, the country has managed to make important steps towards “economic independence” including the reduction of the foreign trade deficit by one-third during the past two years, Dr. Giora Josephthal, Jewish Agency treasurer, said here tonight.
The foreign trade deficit was reduced through a regime of austerity and increased home production from $342,100,000 in 1951 to a current total of $227,100, 000, Dr. Josephthal reported. The Jewish Agency treasurer, who is currently in this country in connection with the United Jewish Appeal campaign, spoke at a board of director’s meeting of the United Israel Appeal.
Dr. Josephthal declared that “Israel has become economically independence minded and is working diligently and imaginatively towards achieving the maximum economic independence.” He pointed out that some of Israel’s present difficulties were derived from the days of mass immigration when multitudes of immigrants required the establishment of provisional housing and large-scale expenditures for rehabilitation.
Rudolf G. Sonneborn, national chairman of the United Israel Appeal, drew special attention to the condition of children in the immigrant transition centers where, he said, “malnutrition has become a dangerous problem of the first magnitude.” He warned that shortage of funds was directly responsible for the fact that, “these children have never been so hungry as they are now.” Mr. Sonneborn declared that free lunches provided by UIA and government agencies give the children in the camps “only about 50 percent of their daily nutritional needs. “