JERUSALEM (Mar. 11)
Finance Minister Levi Eshkol today presented to the Cabinet an optimistic report on Israel’s prospects to secure approval of some form of link with the European Common Market at next month’s session of European Economic Community Council of Ministers.
The session will have before it a report of an EEC committee which surveyed Israel’s requirements for a Euromart association. The Finance Minister expressed the hope that practical suggestions would emerge which will help Israel adapt to the new situation without undue shock to the country’s economy.
Following Mr. Eshkol’s report, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion expressed the hope that the various sectors of the Israeli population would make every effort to strengthen the country’s economy. The Cabinet Ministers decided to waive any increased cost-of-living allowances likely to be granted during the next six months. The action of the Ministers was intended to serve as an example to be followed by all high-bracket salaried persons in the face of pressure for higher wages developing along a broad front.
Following the Cabinet meeting, Mr. Eshkol said that he was planning to meet with private mortgage bankers and building contractors to arrange some kind of relief similar to that provided apartment owners holding dollar-linked mortgages. All such mortgages automatically were increased two-thirds when the Israeli pound was devalued to three to the U.S. dollar last February 9.