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Ben-gurion and Sharett Differ on ‘pioneering Spirit’ of Youth

The days of “personal pioneering” have gone and would not return in Israel, Prime Minister David-Ben-Gurion said here today. He added that there is no need to regret this development.

Mr. Ben-Gurion expressed this opinion at a session of the central committee of the Mapai party during a discussion on how to bring the youth in Israel back to the idealistic spirit of the halutzim. The Prime Minister asserted that the youth can be directed to pioneering tasks through the state. In this he was contradicted by Moshe Sharett, former Foreign Minister, who urged Israelis to fall back on the Halutzim movement and its idealism.

“Compared with the immigrants in pre-war years who had vision and energy, we now have a young generation which is the nucleus of a more intellectual and a more idealistic people with better ability, like the commanders of Israel’s armed forces and the settlers of Ein Geddi and Yotvata in the Negev,” Mr. Ben-Gurion stated.

“There can be no common denominator among the quarter of a million young people here,” he asserted, adding that the youth born on Israeli soil are not strange to labor idealism and are not in need of Shivat Zion (Return to Zion) revolutionary thoughts. In Mr. Ben-Gurion’s opinion, Israel’s youth should be imbued with State responsibility. This would release the huge creative forces that would give Israel an honorable international position, Mr. Ben-Gurion stressed.

The Premier described the development of the Negev as the primary task of the youth and expressed confidence that science would help overcome the problem of the lack of water in Israel’s southern region.

Mr. Sharett demanded that attention be given to the pioneering settlements. “What have we done to help young settlements both materially and spiritually?” he asked. Minister of Labor Giora Josephthal proposed the urban colonization of the Negev and Galilee with the establishment every year of an urban center like Dimona in the northern Negev.

The committee voted to adopt the project suggested by Finance Minister Levi Eshkol to develop the 20, 000 acre Besor region, west of Beersheba, with the establishment of an autonomous “youth state.” Several speakers had opposed this plan in favor of aiding established regions before settling new ones.

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