Israel to Pay to U.S. Investors $24,500,000 for First Israeli Bonds
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Israel to Pay to U.S. Investors $24,500,000 for First Israeli Bonds

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Israel will pay out to American investors in the coming year $24,500,000 representing principal and interest on the first Israel bonds floated in the United States in 1951, it was announced today by Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz, vice-president of the Israel Bond Organization.

The bonds to be redeemed consist of the Independence Issue 12-year savings bonds issued in May 1951. The program of redemption, which will begin May 1, 1963, was outlined at the closing session of the three-day National Planning Conference of the Israel Bond Organization. More than 600 delegates from the United States and Canada joined in launching the fall campaign for Israel bonds to raise $37,000,000 in the remaining 100 days of the year, the amount required to achieve a goal of $66,500,000 for all of 1962.

Dr. Schwartz hailed the beginning of full repayment of bonds as “a milestone in Israel’s economic development and as a vindication of the faith of Israel bonds subscribers in the people of Israel and the capacity to build a viable and dynamic economy against great odds and in the face of many difficulties.” He emphasized that “our investment in Israel has paid off not only in dollars and cents, but in the even greater dividend of the emergence of Israel as a growing democracy and as the refuge and home for many hundreds of thousands of displaced Jews.”

Dr. Schwartz reported that the $563,000,000 provided by Israel bonds in the last 11 years was a concrete demonstration of the “growing and enduring partnership between world Jewry and Israel. He said that “of the total of $563,000,000 obtained since May 1, 1951, $145,000,000 represented the proceeds from the Independence issue; $234,000,000 from the First Development issue; and $183,000,000 from the current Second Development Issue.


Addressing the conference last night, Israel’s Finance Minister Levi Eshkol said that although the European Common Market was not established with any intention to harm Israel and other small nations, it nevertheless represented “a great danger to us unless we become associated with it in some form.” Mr. Eshkol also made known that the threat of an Egyptian rocket attack has reached a point where Israel must increase its deterrent military strength.

In facing the Common Market issue, Mr. Eshkol said it would be “economic suicide to panic or “bury our heads in the sand.” He pointed out that Israel embarked on a new economic policy eight months ago aimed at retention of its markets in Europe because about 60 percent of all Israeli exports had been going to Europe. The new Israeli policy involved currency devaluation, elimination of artificial subsidies, gradual elimination of import controls, and reduction of protection for local industry.

The Israeli Minister reported also that the missile race was spreading to the Near East, citing threats by Nasser compelling Israel to use a great part of its tax revenues for defense. “When Nasser stands by Egyptian rocket launchers and boasts that they are trained in our direction, we dare not mistake this for an idle propaganda boast,” he said. The alternative to disaster, he added, was to convince Nasser that “the distance from Tel Aviv to Cairo, as the rocket flies, is the same as from Cairo to Tel Aviv.”


Mr. Eshkol said that while Israel is seeking ways of establishing peace, “there is competition between the Arab states as to who can threaten us more.” He stressed that the real Arab aim was ultimate and total destruction of the Jewish State. He said Israelis were prepared to finance their defense needs but would require support from American Jewry through Israel bonds to maintain their economic development program and their unrestricted open door policy for the entry of large masses of homeless Jews. He warned against any delay or curtailment in receiving immigrants now arriving.

In meeting the challenges of the European Common Market, security, and immigration, Eshkol said the central task of Negev development cannot be forgotten. He said the key to security, immigration, and economic stability was in the Negev. He stressed the permanent role of Israel bonds in financing irrigation, housing and establishment of new towns and industries in the Negev.

Dr. Abba Hillel Silver, chairman of the board of governors of the Israel Bond Organization emphasized the role of Israel in making possible absorption of newcomers who provide the manpower needed for Israeli industries. He said agriculture alone could not support a large population. He noted that a new stream of immigrants may be forced by persecution and political unrest to come to Israel.

Abraham Feinberg, president of the Israel Bond Organization, emphasized that “whenever distress and political upheaval undermine the Jewish position, we are forcefully reminded of the central importance of Israel and our responsibility to preserve and expand its capacity to welcome homeless Jews.” He said that responsibility was the fundamental task of Israel bonds.

Other major speakers at the conference included David Horowitz, Governor of the Bank of Israel; Dr. Y. Foerder, chairman of the Bank Leumi Le-Israel; Samuel Rothberg, national campaign chairman of the Israel Bond Organization and Louis H. Boyar, national chairman of the Trustees of the Israel Bond Organization.

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