Israel Must Be Ready for Anything, Mrs. Meir Tells U.J.A. Mission

Foreign Minister Golda Meir told a 115-man visiting. United Jewish Appeal delegation last night that while immigration was continuing at a steady pace and Israel was “fully engaged” in absorbing recent arrivals, “we must be prepared for whatever the future may hold.” Mrs. Meir interrupted a vacation to return here to receive the American Jewish study mission at a dinner.

The Foreign Minister pointed out that although some countries severely restricted the departure of Jews, Israel. had to be ready at all times for the day when the doors might be reopened. She declared that “the tasks ahead of us are vital to the Jewish people as ever. Their fulfillment is unthinkable without the continued devotion and cooperation of American Jewry.”

Earlier, the mission studied agricultural developments and inspected new settlements in the Lachish area. The delegation was told by Dr. Raanan Weitz, head of the Jewish Agency agricultural and settlement department, that only 60 out of 482 immigrant farm settlements were self-supporting and that $200,000,000 would be required to put the remainder on an equal footing. Dr. Weitz explained to the delegation that Israel, which had increased agricultural production since statehood by 315 percent, was now concentrating on increasing industrial crops such as cotton, peanuts and sugar beet.

Among the settlements the delegation visited was Moshav Lachish-Otzem, a frontier outpost inhabited by Moroccan Jewish settlers who are growing cotton. They also visited Kiryat Gat, urban center of the Lachish area.

A permanent “Conquest of the Desert” exhibit was opened today by Meir Grossman, member of the Jewish Agency executive, in the presence of the members of the study group. The exhibit shows Israel’s achievements in land reclamation, development of natural resources, agriculture, industry, housing, settlement, education and culture.

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