NEW YORK (Oct. 15)
The State of Israel is embarking on a large-scale road construction program to connect new areas of development with the rest of the country, General Yigal Allon, Minister of Labor of the State of Israel, said here today. Gen. Allon arrived here this weekend for a three-week tour of major communities in the United States and Canada in behalf of the Israel Bond drive.
The Israeli Cabinet Minister outlined Israel’s master plan for a network of new roads, for which the World Bank recently agreed to loan Israel $23,000,000. He stressed that this loan pays only 45 per cent of the cost, and that, as construction progresses, Israel must meet 55 per cent of the cost of each mile from its own funds, a large portion of it derived from Israel Bonds.
“We are trying to take advantage of the opportunity which this loan gives us,” he said, “although it poses a tremendous unexpected burden on our economy. We want to overcome the present bottlenecks which afflict our roads.”
New roads planned, he said, include dual highways from Haifa to Tel Aviv and on to Ashdod, where Israel’s newest port is now under construction; from Tel Aviv to Lydda Airport; and from Tel Aviv to Petach Tikvah, A wider road is planned from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; a new road from Beersheba to the new development town of Arad, then on to S’dom, site of the Dead Sea potash and bromine plant, and a new road from S’dom along the Arava to Eilat, Israel’s port on the Red Sea. This last project will reduce the road distance from S’dom to Eilat by 53 miles. The plan also includes improvements for roads in the Galilee, including feeder roads to farm settlements and villages.
Gen. Allon’s visit to North America coincides with the opening of the fall phase of the 1962 Israel Bond campaign, which seeks a total of $66, 500,000 for the year. The drive has raised more than $560, 000,000 since its inauguration in 1951 for the development of every phase of the country’s economy.
Gen. Allon noted that Israel’s major concern in expanding its economy is to provide employment for the large number of immigrants now coming to Israel. He drew attention to the emergence of pockets of unemployment in some of Israel’s new development towns, and called for an intensified effort to solve this problem.
“Although Israel’s rate of unemployment is one of the lowest in the world–from 2 to 3 per cent — we have encountered some unemployment in the last few months in certain new development towns,” he said. “We must encourage the building of industries in and around the new towns, and we count heavily on Israel Bond funds to make this possible. We are trying to encourage private capital to invest in these areas, and we are investing public funds there as well. It is important to note.” he pointed out, “that a good number of the new towns have already reached economic maturity, and no longer require this sort of special effort.