NEW YORK (Jun. 26)
Levi Eshkol, Minister of Finance of the State of Israel, declared here tonight that Israel faces the necessity of embarking on a five-year building program to construct 25,000 to 30,000 homes annually at a total cost of $500,000,000 to house an estimated immigration of more than 300,000 refugees during that period.
Speaking at a dinner that marked the launching of a new $3,000 denomination Israel bond for housing development, the Israel Government leader stressed that the building program in Israel was essential to meet “a wave of immigration” from Eastern Europe, North Africa and other parts of the world. “A million Jews face our ancient misfortune, forced wandering, “he told 700 persons attending the dinner at the Roosevelt Hotel. “About a third of a million are waiting impatiently to come to Israel and they will come in the next few years.”
In addition to a housing program, Mr. Eshkol also announced a four-year agricultural development plan to settle new immigrants on the land. However, he emphasized that since not more than 20 percent will be established in rural areas, the greatest effort must be concentrated on industrial expansion with the aid of funds derived from Israel bonds sold in the United States.
In response to Mr. Eshkol’s report on Israel’s needs, William Mazer, chairman of the Greater New York Israel Bond Committee, who presided, announced that more than $500,000 in Israel bonds had been purchased at the dinner. Mr. Eshkol pointed up the importance of the new $3,000 Israel bond that was issued specially to aid in meeting the housing crisis. Explaining that each housing unit would cost approximately $3,000, he said: “Israel bonds are now being issued in a new and special denomination of $3,000, specifically for immigrant housing. Those who buy the new issues will be investing in building homes for newcomer–and they will be known as Builders of Israel.”