NEW YORK (Jan. 15)
Satisfaction with his present visit to the United States and with the results of his financial discussions in Washington was expressed here today by Israel’s Finance Minister Levi Eshkol, prior to his departure for Israel.
Mr. Eshkol, who stayed three weeks in this country meeting members of the Kennedy Administration and conferring with leaders of the United Jewish Appeal and the Israel Bond Organization, said he anticipated that the Israel Government will obtain a loan of between $25, 000, 000 and $30,000, 000 from the World Bank in Washington soon; The Israel Government, he added, would be able to utilize proceeds from that loan this year,
In general, he said, he had “very friendly discussions” with a number of leading Washington officials, particularly those concerned with finances and economy. Among the men with whom he conferred in Washington were Secretary of the Treasury C; Douglas Dillon; Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman; Eugene R. Black, president of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development; and high officials in the State Department, the Export-Import Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Agency for International Development.” Very friendly discussions, ” said Mr. Eshkol, “were had in all of these and many other meetings. “
The Israeli Finance Minister said that United States Government aid to Israel will continue; As for the pending World Bank loan, earmarked for Israeli expansion of roads and highways and for the building of new roads, he said that the Bank was sending a mission to Israel which will report back to the officials in Washington probably by the end of March.
“Thus, “he stated, “if our plans are approved, we shall be able to utilize money from that loan during our next fiscal year.” Included in the plans, he said, is not only highway expansion but also, possibly, use of some of the funds to complete railroads connecting the Negev with the central part of Israel.
SAYS AMERICAN JEWS DO ‘SUPERB’ WORK IN AIDING ISRAEL’S ECONOMY
The American Jewish community, Mr, Eshkol said, is doing “superb” work in aiding the Israel economy. After meeting with the trustees of the UJA, he said, and attending other UJA events, he found that some of the big UJA givers have been doubling this year’s contributions compared with 1961.
“Both leaders and workers are very optimistic of meeting the special, larger needs confronting this year’s campaign, to raise larger sums for immigrant absorption in Israel and for the consolidation of agricultural settlements. We appreciate the UJA efforts most profoundly, “he stressed.
As for the Israel Bond Organization, Mr. Eshkol was laudatory of that organization’s sale, in 1961, of the highest yield in bonds since the bond drive was first launched in this country more than 10 years ago. Still bigger plans have been made for the next year, he said, and the achievement of these higher goals will result in expansion of Israel’s agricultural irrigation network as well as the creation of new industries in the Negev.
Mr. Eshkol expressed himself as “highly optimistic” in regard to the general economic outlook for Israel during the next decade. Given certain conditions, he said, Israel should be able to close its annual $380, 000, 000 trade gap, or narrow that gap to very low proportions, by 1970. The conditions for such an envisaged improvement in the country’s economic position, he said, are: 1. Normalization of the country’s growth in population; 2. Maintenance of the present, relative firm position in the country’s security.
“Given these conditions,” he stated, “the day will come before the end of this decade when, by our own efforts, we should be abletto replace the inflow of foreign aid, whether from Governments, German reparations or the aid we receive through UJA and similar sources; In two or three years, when present investments in the expansion of citrus farming and industry start yielding results, we should be able to increase our exports from $400,000, 000 a year to $600, 000, 000, In two years, we should start receiving income from the new industries developed in the Dead Sea area at a cost of $50,000,000.
“The steady growth of private investments will be of vital value to us,” Mr. Eshkol concluded; “Furthermore, we know now that for good projects we shall always be able to find investment monies.”