NEW YORK (Jan. 7)
Israel’s trade deficit will remain between $300,000,000 and $350,000,000 by April, the end of the current fiscal year, the New York Times estimated today in an article reviewing Israel’s economic position in the year just concluded.
“This meant that for another year Israel continued to depend on the astronomical contributions of world Jewry, and particularly United States Jewry, to keep her head above water,” the article said. “In 1957 these offerings exceeded $135,000,000. The rest of the deficit was made up by West German reparations and loans from the United States, France, and other sources.
“On the bright side, there were signs that the drives for new markets in Asia and Africa were beginning to pay off in a small way,” the article continued. “In its first year, Israel’s new port of Elath began handling both solid and fluid cargoes. There was a substantial increase in developing the modest mineral deposits in the Negev. A small oil field, supplying about 10 per cent of Israel’s needs, was nearing completion.
“With reparations money and material the merchant marine and interior transportation systems were expanded. Citrus production, Israel’s best foreign currency earner was expanded and found an excellent market. There was an increase in the export of cut diamonds, the second biggest earner. A modest long staple cotton crop was raised and there was an encouraging increase in peanuts and sugar beets, which Israel hopes to turn into money-earning commercial crops.
“Although Israel’s average wage was still only $138. 75 per month, the necessities of life were available at subsidized prices most workers could afford. More housing was available and a standard of living far higher than anywhere else in the Middle East was maintained,” the article stressed.