TEL AVIV (Sep. 3)
“Give us the tools and we will do the job,” Israel’s Minister for Development, Mordecai Bentov, today told delegates to the International Israel Bond Conference during a luncheon in their honor at the Weizmann Institute at Rehovoth. The 350 delegates assembled from the United States, Canada and Latin America.
Mr Bentov, who outlined Israel’s development possibilities, laid greatest stress on the potentialities of the Negev. Noting that the southern Israeli desert was sparsely settled, he said that the government’s goal was to develop the area to the point where it would be as heavily populated as the northern part of the country is at present.
To achieve this goal, he said, Israel must exploit its natural resources, take advantage of its pleasant climate to build up attractive tourist facilities and, finally, make the most of its geographical location as a link between the Red Sea with its African and Asian hinterland and the Western nations.
Mr. Bentov revealed that: two American firms were currently studying the Dead Sea chemical works with a view to increasing its annual output to $25,000,000; European chemical firms were negotiating for a part in expanding the phosphates industry, and the bromine industry was already entering the international market as a serious competitor. In all, these mineral resources could be exploited to provide an additional $70,000,000 a year income–about one-quarter of the country’s current trade gap.
The Minister laid great stress on the importance of Israel’s position as the only country other than Egypt which had access to both the Red and Mediterranean Seas. This geographical advantage should be pressed, he insisted, by laying down a large pipeline for speedy, cheap and uninterrupted flow of vital oil to the Western markets.
Mr. Bentov hailed the achievements of the Israel Bond Organization, noting that funds derived from the sale of bonds are an “essential ingredient in the recipe for Israel’s economic independence.”