TEL A VIV (Jan. 16)
A plan for Israel to tighten its belt in the economic and manpower fields and place itself in the best shape to beat off an expected attack from the Arab states has been prepared by the Mapai Party, largest party in Israel and leader of the government coalition. The plan, which was prepared by a special Mapai committee headed by Pinchas Lavon, former Defense Minister will be submitted to the political committee of the party for discussion and eventual implementation, it was learned here today.
The plan calls for the establishment of a supreme defense board composed of citizens–with consultative status in reference to the Premier and the Defense Minister It suggests that the government accompany the creation of this defense board with the proclamation of a “state of preparedness.” During this period strikes would be prohibited in national and municipal government work and in industries producing defense items.
The draft plan calls for the immediate classification of Israel’s manpower, so that the most economical and most efficient use may be made of it should the occasion arise and both the army and industry expand their personnel needs. The plan terms urgent the establishment of a special commissarial to coordinate control and to implement various emergency regulations in the event of war. The stockpiling of food and water is also called urgent.
AIR RAID PROTECTION URGED; INTRODUCTION OF DEFENSE TAX SUGGESTED
The administrative framework for a fully operative air raid protection and civil defense system should be set up, the plan recommends. A special authority should be created to plan for the construction and maintenance of air raid shelters both public and private, and for the evacuation of urban centers.
It is proposed that stricter measures be enacted to prevent military age men and women from leaving the country and to cut the number of delegations travelling abroad, to recall Israeli students from abroad as soon as they complete their studies and to set a deadline for persons who have been abroad a long time to return under pain of loss of citizenship.
These preparations will require great sums, the plan points out, which should be raised by taxation. It recommends a defense tax which would bring in 50 million pounds and an “apartment tax” to be paid by occupants of apartments larger than 260 square feet; proceeds from the latter to be used to finance civil defense costs.
In addition, the plan calls for the government to cut its expenses in a variety of ways; to reduce the number of public servants on both the municipal and national levels; fix prices, particularly on consumer goods, and prevent monopolistic price fixing. Luxury imports would be reduced drastically, also where possible expensive necessities would be replaced by cheaper items, such as small British cars for the large American auto. The “cultural importation” of foreign artists and large official receptions would be discouraged.
To deal with the problem of settling the new immigrants during this emergency period, the plan proposes a special recruiting drive for men and women between 35 and 45 to serve for one year in the new immigrant settlements. Also older students would be given their matriculation examinations several months earlier than usual and be freed for one-half year’s service in the settlements.