TEL AVIV (Jul. 30)
An audience of 5,000 persons, led by President Ben-Zvi, attended today the laying of the cornerstone for Israel’s second deepwater harbor on the Mediterranean Sea at Ashdod.
The first stage of construction, which will cost 70,000,000 pounds ($39,000,000) will make possible the handling of 1,000,000 tons of products annually by 1964. The second and third stages are scheduled to be completed by 1967.
The new port, being built by Israeli and French firms, under supervision of American companies, will expedite the transport of potash and citrus products from Southern Israel, particularly the Negev and the Dead Sea. Ashdod is midway between Tel Aviv and Ashkelon.
Participants at today’s ceremony included Finance Minister Levi Eshkol, Transport Minister Yitzhak Ben Aharon and 350 Jewish communal leaders from the United States, Canada and Latin America attending a conference sponsored by the Israel Bond Organization. President Ben-Zvi and other leading guests, including the Israel Bond leaders, signed a cornerstone scroll which was inserted in a huge stone. The stone was lifted by a crane and lowered into the ocean to mark the start of construction.