TEL AVIV, (Apr. 8)
A five-year plan for guiding Israel toward economic independence, calling for doubling of the investments in industry, and tripling of Israel’s exports, was presented here tonight by Finance Minister Levi Eshkol.
Mr. Eshkol was one of the leaders of the Government and labor addressing the opening session of the ninth annual convention of Mapai, the party dominant in the Government. More than 3, 000 delegates and guests, representing 345 Mapai branches, are attending the convention.
One of the chief purposes of this year’s convention is the drafting of an election platform for Mapai, which the party will place before the country in the next general elections, scheduled for November. The platform will also be laid before the electorate of Histadrut, the Israel Federation of Labor, which will ballot for officers prior to the country’s general elections. Former Prime Minister Moshe Sharett was elected chairman of the convention’s presidium.
In assessing Israel’s present economic position, Mr. Eshkol noted that Israel’s economy has made vast progress since the State was established nearly eleven years ago. At the same time, he stressed the fact that Israel is still dependent on capital investments from abroad. The Finance Minister proposed the five-year-plan to reduce dependence and to increase exports.
Mr. Eshkol’s plan envisages an annual increase of eight percent in Israeli production, and stabilization of consumption. Above all, the Finance Minister said, Israel must take advantage of the great possibilities for developing its natural resources in minerals, mining and oil.
Nearly every leader in Mapai and in Histadrut is attending the convention, and most of the leaders made reports tonight, or are scheduled to address the convention before it closes tomorrow night. Among tonight’s speakers were Pinhas Lavon, secretary general of Hisdartut. and Giori Josephthal, Mapai’s secretary general.