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Knesset Adjourns; Passes Port Authority Bill; Abolishes Exit Visas

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The fourth session of Israel’s fourth Parliament–its life cut to less than half of its legal tenure by the Government crisis and resignation of last January–was adjourned today with attention of its members focused on campaigning for the general elections August 15.

The session concluded with the passing of legislation abolishing exit visas for Israelis and permanent residents and a law turning over the Government-owned ports of Haifa, and Tel Aviv to a public authority. The ending of the requirement for exit visas will take effect next October 15, according to the new law.

The port authority law which was passed today also met with the wishes of the World Bank which promised a loan of $27, 500, 000 conditioned on relaxation of Government control of the ports. The law provides that each port will have a degree of autonomy and each will determine its own budget to be self-supporting. The overall port authority will be operated by a council of 11 to 13 members with a majority of public figures and a minority of Government civil servants.

The World Bank loan is aimed particularly at development of a deep sea port at Ashdod which is scheduled to become a major port. The Government will name the chairman of the port authority. General Haim Laskov, immediate past Chief of Staff, is a candidate for the post.

Other bills approved included one setting up an Academy of Arts and Sciences modeled after the French Academy, a law granting pension rights to prison guards, a measure to overhaul completely the Israeli Bar and its governing bodies, and technical measures concerning the August 15 elections.

Speaker Kaddish Luz extended good wishes to all deputies and outlined the progress made during the fourth Knesset. He announced a contract for work on a permanent building for the Knesset which will be awarded next week. The new building will be financed from a bequest from the late James Rothschild and will be completed within 30 months.

The Speaker expressed the hope that the campaigning for the Fifth Knesset would find a “golden middle” between public responsibility and party differences and that the Fifth Knesset would exist through its full four-year tenure. The final session was attended by most members of the Cabinet, including Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

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