Knesset Approves $10,600,000 Budget for Israel’s Foreign Ministry

A budget for the coming year of 19,000,000 pounds ($10,600,000) for Israel’s Foreign Ministry was approved tonight by the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament.

Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister, wound up debate on the budget just before the vote with a reply to her critics who had charged that Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion had intervened in the operations of the Foreign Ministry. She pointed out that every Prime Minister worthy of the title had played a major role in shaping the country’s foreign affairs. She expressed the hope that this practice would be continued in Israel.

She also told the Knesset that if the Arab leaders, particularly President Nasser of the United Arab Republic, would show a humanitarian approach to the Arab refugees, instead of “exploiting them as tools for political ends,” the problem of the refugees could be readily solved. She placed on the Arab states the responsibility for the continuation of the problem.

Noting that Israel now had diplomatic or consular relations with more than 70 countries, Mrs. Meir cited the expansion of Israel’s representations in Africa where Israel is now represented in 16 independent states by eleven missions.

The Foreign Minister reported that more than 750 students from underdeveloped countries studied in Israel last year and that the Government had sent abroad some 150 Israeli instructors, experts and advisers. This year, she said, the pace of the exchange had been speeded up and the number of students here should reach 1,000 with some 400 Israeli experts to be sent abroad.

Mrs. Meir announced that Israel would award during the coming academic year, 50 undergraduates and 20 graduate scholarships at the Hebrew University and the Technion for African and Asian students. She said the Government would initiate special programs in medicine and agricultural engineering with special attention to the problems of the students’ home countries.

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