$3, 000, 000, 000 Plan for Investments in Israel Outlined by Eshkol
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$3, 000, 000, 000 Plan for Investments in Israel Outlined by Eshkol

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Israel will need nearly $3, 000, 000, 000 for investments in new development programs in the next five years, Finance Minister Levi Eshkol announced today. He listed the figure while addressing the opening session at the Hebrew University campus, of a ten-day conference convened by the Israel Bond Organization. The parley is being Attended by 350 delegates and national Bond leaders from abroad.

President Izhak Ben-Zvi and Jerusalem Mayor Mordechai Ish-Shalom greeted the conference. Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz, executive vice-president of the Israel Bond Organization, presided.

Detailing the five-year development plan for Israel, Mr. Eshkol said $1, 000, 000, 000 will be needed in the field of industrial, electric power and mining development; $700, 000, 000 for the construction of 150, 000 housing units; $500, 000, 000 for irrigation and agriculture; another half-billion dollars for expansion of Israeli transport services; and $250,000,000 for service industries, including tourism.

Israel, he said, will focus its efforts in the next five years on development of the Negev Desert, establishment of agriculture in the Southern Negev area, and the construction of six or seven major urban centers in the Negev. Bringing the waters of the Jordan River to the Negev, he said, is essential to the development of the areas.

The Israel-United Arab Republic situation was discussed by the delegates at the afternoon session, in a question-and-answer period with Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister. Mrs. Meir outlined three aspects of a plan by U.A.R. President Gamal Abdel Nasser to destroy Israel. These, she said, are:

1) Military attacks against Israel. Nasser does not dare attack, the Foreign Minister said, as long as Israel has “qualitative equality” in armaments, and Nasser is not sure of a victory.

2) The Arab economic boycott and blockade which, though it hurts Israel, is not as successful as Nasser had hoped it would be.

3) The Arab refugee situation. Nasser, said Mrs. Meir, is preventing the refugees from resettling in Arab countries, using them instead as a major weapon against Israel and demanding their return here, so that they would act as an advance column of Arab military attack aimed at the total destruction of Israel.

The idea of giving the refugees “free choice” between repatriation and resettlement, Mrs. Meir said, is unrealistic, since the Arab leaders would not permit any refugees to choose to stay in Arab countries.

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