Tel Aviv (May. 14)
Premier David Ben Gurion called last night for the immediate initiation of large-scale development projects in Israel to prepare for the possibility of a “miracle” which would open the doors of the Soviet Union for the emigration of Russian Jews to Israel. He told some 1,200 delegates to a national convention of the Mapai Party he hoped this would occur in the next decade.
In a reference to the plight of the Arab refugees, Mr. Ben Gurion charged that the Arab rulers had “hardened their hearts for ten years against the victims of their blind and hate-ridden policy.” He accused the Arab governments of refusing to permit the resettlement of the refugees “in the hope that thereby they would injure Israel.”
The Premier again stressed Israel’s readiness to contribute to a solution of the Arab refugee problem, but “only if the Arab rulers abandon their aspirations to destroy Israel.” He also conditioned Israeli aid on the Arab states’ willingness to resettle large numbers of the refugees on their own territories.
At today’s session of the convention, Histadrut general secretary Pinhas Lavon called on the party to place itself–by resolution–behind a plan to “assert the democratic character of the Histadrut” by dividing the organizations huge cooperative enterprises in several autonomous units, including breaking up Solel Boneh, which now operates construction companies, industry and other large economic enterprises. This, Mr. Lavon insisted, will help adjust the Histadrut’s economic enterprises to Israel’s needs.
Dr. Giora Josephthal, secretary general of the Mapai Party, reported that the labor party’s strength within the Histadrut had increased. He cited the fact that in elections for workers committees and in trade unions the Mapai had gained eight percent in the last year. He said that more than half of the younger working population, the most important age category in the country’s labor force, was affiliated with the Mapai.