Golda Myerson Reviews Israel’s Problems at Geneva Parley

An impressive review of manpower, unemployment, productivity and housing problems and accomplishments in Israel was presented here today to the International Labor Organization conference by Mrs. Golda Myerson, Israel Minister of Labor. Upon the completion of her address, her first in the ILO, Mrs. Myerson received a warm ovation from the delegates.

Explaining that Israel used its housing development program as a means of spreading its population throughout the country and particularly directing it to agriculture, Mrs. Myerson reported that the government, public institutions and private builders had in the past five years erected 150,000 permanent housing units, in addition to the tens of thousands of temporary units erected for immigrants. She noted that 30,000 of the permanent units were built privately.

In a lengthy analysis of productivity programs in Israel, Mrs. Myerson asserted that the country was fortunate in that the labor movement had a “deep understanding that higher productivity is in the direct interest of the workers themselves.” She added that the employers also cooperate wholeheartedly in efforts to increase productivity. Israel, she stressed, was anxious to maintain its high standard of living, “but we are extremely aware of the necessity to be economically independent.”

Mrs. Myerson noted that the problem of unemployment in developing and in fully developed countries differed. She underlined the fact that there was little value in speaking of surplus manpower for underdeveloped countries where there was much land and natural resources to be developed while at the same time there was a huge mass of people with a low standard of living. Rather, Mrs. Myerson said, these countries lacked financial means for development, technicians and organizational skill.

In appreciation of the role of the ILO and other international bodies which provided aid and assistance to developing countries, Mrs. Myerson declared that “I cannot help but feel that this organization because it deals with the problems of human beings is bound to break down barriers of all natures.” She also underlined the fact that small nations, as well as large ones, had something to offer other countries in the way of assistance and advice.

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