TEL AVIV (Apr. 8)
Israel’s economic prospects were outlined here today by S.S. Hoofien, chairman of the board of directors of Bank Leumi L’Israel, the country’s largest national bank, addressing a meeting of the bank’s stockholders.
Mr. Hoofien, one of the country’s leading bankers, stressed that Israel must arrange its economic affairs so that it becomes independent of aid from abroad, and called for reduction of the national and municipal budgets. He asserted that it was of the “utmost importance” for Israel to plan to do without grants, loans and contributions from abroad.
The banker also warned against “oil dreams, ” noting that even if oil is discovered in Israel it will be many years before it can be exploited commercially. He underlined the fact that the natural resources now being developed by the government have not yet begun to contribute significantly toward reducing the government deficit.
Mr. Hoofien criticized the payment of high prices for such farm products as milk, eggs, poultry and vegetables and the lack of financial encouragement offered to growers of wheat, barley and other grains. He demanded a further cut in living standards and insisted that consumer purchasing power be cut except where it is tied to increased productivity. Finally, he said that the time was not yet ripe for the establishment of a state bank because of the shortage of trained personnel.