Eshkol Presents New Agricultural Plan to Zionist Actions Committee

A new four-year agricultural development plan to provide 3,000,000 mandays of work annually was presented here today to the Zionist Actions Committee by Levi Eshkol, head of the Jewish Agency’s agricultural department. Mr. Eshkol said that completion of this plan would also aid Israel by contributing 42,000,000 pounds worth of crops each year and save the economy $13,000,000 in agricultural products it must now import each year.

The Agency’s experiment in placing newcomers to Israel in existing collective statements rather than throwing them on their own has proved to be most satisfactory in its initial phases, he reported. Mr. Eshkol, who is also Israel’s Minister of Finance, asserted that placement of immigrant families into existing facilities is cheaper, provides the newcomers with skillful instruction during their settling-in and learning period, and pays off in early crop returns for Israel. He stated that the kibbutz network throughout Israel still needs thousands of agricultural hands.

A heartening trend for Israel’s agricultural development was noted by Mr. Eshkol who said that the first five year’s of Israel’s independent existence had seen village population drop by 25 percent as Israelis sought opportunity in the towns and cities. However, largely as a result of the renewal of immigration from Europe, he said, this trend has been halted.

The agricultural director disclosed that the huge Huleh swamp reclamation project started by the Jewish National Fund is expected to achieve its goals soon. The project, when completed, will add 27,000 dunams, (nearly 7,000 acres) of arable land to Israel and will provide 250,000 work days annually for settlers on the new land. The Huleh region will produce about 5,000,000 pounds worth of crops annually and its industrial crops will be the foundation for industrialization of Northern Israel, Mr. Eshkol asserted.

He revealed that the agency has only set up 11 new agricultural settlements in the past year, partly because of its concentration on intensification of current agricultural settlement and production and partly because of the pressure of a greatly increased immigration flow. He called on every Jew to personally extend himself to help in settlement work and to accept the task of the “welfare of Zion and the redemption of his brethren” as a task of the generation.

14,000 YOUNG PEOPLE IN YOUTH ALIYAH CENTERS, KOL REPORTS

There are now some 14,000 children and young people in Youth Aliyah institutions and training centers, Moshe Kol, director of the child rescue and rehabilitation movement, reported to the Actions Committee. He reported that Youth Aliyah, which has sheltered some 35,000 children since its inception, is expanding its activities.

Mr. Kol dwelt in detail in the movement’s agricultural training facilities, noting that such training would help turn a sizable portion of the next generation toward farming as a lifers work. Some 40 percent of Youth Aliyah’s past charges, he reported, have experienced the horrors of war and many are orphans yet “we have succeeded in rehabilitating them into constructive citizens.”

L. Dultzin, head of the Agency’s economic department, reported that there were many middle class Jews in Latin America, with capital of $10,000 or more who wish to settle in Israel, but that Israel must first plan and finance the building of facilities for them.

NEXT STORY