NEW YORK (Aug. 20)
Reports from all fields of economy activity in Israel continue to indicate normal conditions in industry, agriculture, foreign trade, transportation and finance, with no visible effect on the Israel economy by the Middle East crisis, the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce reported today.
“Even the sensitive field of tourism has been unaffected,” the report said. “As a matter of fact, the number of tourists that entered Israel in July, 9519, is almost 50 percent higher than the number of tourists that arrived in Israel in July of last year. The Israel Government Tourist Office believes that the estimated total of 80,000 tourists which it anticipated during 1958, will indeed visit Israel this year.
“On the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, securities linked to the exchange rate of the dollar remained virtually unchanged, indicating lack of concern about the stability of the Israel pound. On the other hand, industrials rose markedly last week after several weeks of minor fluctuations,” the report continued.
Although some saw a connection with the apparent increased needs of defense expenditures by the Israel Government, the major economic news from Israel had no direct connection with the Middle East situation. It was a series of stiff increases in customs and excise duties, the Chamber of Commerce stated.
Government spokesmen tied these increases with the continued policy of “liberalizing” the import of additional items on the one hand, and of “absorbing excess purchasing power” on the other hand, the report stressed. The increased cost of the various products is expected to prevent an excessive import and consumption, while at the same time government revenues from duties and taxes would rise, it was explained.