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Israel Finance Minister Presents 1,336,000,000-pound Budget to Parliament

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Finance Minister Levi Eshkol today presented a 1,336,000,000-pound budget to Parliament to cover the 1959-60 fiscal year.

Included in the overall expenditure estimate is a 240,000,000 pound defense budget, up from 217,000,000 last year. Presumably, spending will be higher since some potions of the military budget remain a secret. Mr. Eshkol told the Knesset that since the Soviet Union began supplying Egypt with arms several years ago, Israel’s military expenditures have doubled. The economy is further burdened, Mr. Eshkol pointed out, by the necessity for assigning more of its youthful manpower to security rather than production needs.

In a review of recent accomplishments, the Finance Minister said that total national production increased 37 percent in the past three years, while electric power production went up 62 percent, industrial production increased 37 percent and citriculture doubled. In the same three years, Israel’s merchant marine tonnage rose 70 percent to a figure of 750,000 tons. Israel’s petroleum production now covers ten percent of the domestic needs, he said, and the eight-inch pipeline between Eilath and Beersheba is being replaced by a 16-inch conduit.

A nine percent increase in the national output and an equal increase in the consumption of goods were forecast for 1959 today by the research department of Israel’s State Bank. Tax collections are expected to go up 15 percent, and exports will increase 11 percent, the State Bank report predicted.

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