NEW YORK (Jun. 27)
The Jordan Valley Authority project is now being successfully implemented by the Government of Israel within the limits of the Jewish State fully independent of other plans that may be projected, it was reported by Dr. Walter C. Lowdermilk noted American soil expert, at a special session of the convention of the Zionist Organization of America devoted to the activities of the Jewish National Fund.
Dr. Lowdermilk’s announcement was considered especially significant in view of the current visit of Eric Johnston to Israel and the Arab states on a mission relating to a new plan for the utilization of the water resources of the region. Dr. Lowdermilk praised the manner in which the Jordan Valley Authority project is being carried out. He also lauded the Jewish National Fund for its work in stopping soil erosion through afforestation and the reclamation of vast stretches through the drainage of swamps.
Dr. Harris J. Levine, president of the JNF, told the session that the Fund has mobilized in the United States for the purpose of land purchase and land development in the land of Israel, since its inception 54 years ago, the sum of $190,000, 000. In summarizing the achievements of the Jewish National Fund since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, he said:
“The land holdings of the Jewish National Fund have risen from less than one million dunams in 1948 to close to 3,500,000 dunams in 1954; rural settlements on JNF land from close to 250 to more than 600; the Jewish population living on JNF land has increased from 125,000 to half a million. “
Mendel N. Fisher, executive director of the Jewish National Fund, stated that the blue-white JNF box–the most popular symbol of the individual Jew’s personal affiliation with Israel–is now to be found in 1,000,000 homes in the United States. Mr. Fisher, in pointing to the expansion of the sphere of influence of the Jewish National Fund and the broadening of the base of the organization, said;
“We derive special satisfaction from the fact that we have extended the sphere of influence in the United States attracting new elements in the Jewish community to participate in our endeavors, and that we have extended our base of representation to include, in addition to our constituent Zionist groups, representatives of other segments of the Jewish community.”
A total of $300, 000, 000 has been provided by the United Israel Appeal to its agencies in Israel since 1948 when the State was established, it was reported by Rudolph G. Sonneborn, national chairman, at the session on “Israel Funds” during the ZOA convention. This amount did not include the tens of millions of dollars channeled through the Joint Distribution Committee for its projects.
The Palestine Economic Corporation which invests funds and promotes new business enterprises in Israel, reported at the ZOA convention through Robert Szold, chairman of the PEC board of directors, that its total capital, surplus and reserve in 1953 were 12 million dollars as compared to five and three-quarter million dollars in 1948. He was the principal speaker at a session on “Israeli Economics, Investment and Tourism.