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Israel Drafts Huge, New Development Budget; More Funds Needed

The Jewish people have “never fulfilled” the goals of Jewish appeals, and Israel must continue to live with the results “until sufficient funds are raised to empty the transit camps, solve the problem of productive employment and fully integrate our immigrants,” Finance Minister Levi Eshkol said today.

Discussing the Government’s new Development Budget, which he said would be between 300 and 400 million pounds, Mr. Eshkol said this is “really only half of what should be spent on development.”

He said he hoped some important economic development projects would be undertaken by foreign investors, and added that “we will do everything possible to encourage the flow of private capital.”

Mr. Eshkol said the key to Israel’s agricultural development was the national water plan to bring Jordan River waters to irrigation of the Negev. The first stage of this plan, he said, would be completed in five years, at a cost of $100, 000, 000.

Asserting that “our major efforts will be directed toward industrial expansion,” the Finance Minister said that, in the next five years, “we shall invest $750,000,000 in industry.” He also reported that, in 1960, Israel would acquire 10 new cargo and passenger ships, and that by the end of 1961 Israel’s merchant marine would total 750, 000 tons.

Israel’s ports handled 3, 000, 000 tons of cargoes during 1959, as compared with 1, 300, 000 tons in 1949, it was reported today. One-third of the 1959 tonnage was handled by Israel ships. A total of $88, 000, 000 has been invested in Israel shipping facilities since the establishment of Israel.

The Government Investment Center announced yesterday grants of approved status to 201 new enterprises or expansion projects of existing firms during 1959. Total investments approved were 60, 000,000 pounds and $69, 000, 000. The Government sanctioned loans of 109, 000, 000 pounds to approved enterprises.

The Center said that 126 of the enterprises were industrial programs, including 23 textile plants, 19 chemical and drugs, 14 for the production of machinery and vehicles, and 10 for the food industry. The remainder included 16 for building, and 53 for a variety of enterprises, including 13 hotels.

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