Israel Sends Top Leaders to U.S. to Seek Housing Aid for New Immigrants

Giora Josephthal, Minister of Labor, and Aryeh Pinkus, treasurer of the Jewish Agency, will leave for the United States this weekend to raise extra funds, within the framework of the United Jewish Appeal, to meet Israel’s housing needs for increased immigration expected here during the current fiscal year, it was announced today. The target for funds to be needed for housing of immigrants has been raised to 200,000,000 Israeli pounds ($112,000,000).

Meanwhile, the Government Housing Administration has announced measures for restricting non-essential construction, so as to assign building labor and materials priorities to immigrant housing. In line with the announcement the Labor Ministry will halt the construction of various public building projects earmarked for this year at a total cost of 30,000,000 pounds ($16,800,000) and will divert the allocations, manpower and materials for the speedy construction of housing units to accommodate recent arrivals.

Among the construction projects to be halted in accordance with the new decision may be work on the new building for the Knesset as well as other Government and municipal projects. During the first five months of the current fiscal year, the Ministry spent double the original estimates for housing new immigrants and by the end of the fiscal year next March 31, it is expected that such expenditures will increase four-fold.

The new measure announced today with regard to building restrictions caused an immediate increase in prices for dwellings being built by private contractors, as well as for building materials, despite government assurances that the new restrictions will not affect private building but are aimed only at public construction like the Knesset building here and the Hall of Justice at Tel Aviv. Israelis were rushing today to buy private dwellings.

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