Israel to Maintain Stability of Prices and Wages, Eshkol Says

Levi Eshkol, Minister of Finance, assured the economic committee of the dominant Mapai Party, at a meeting here today, that the Government is firmly determined to maintain stability of prices as well as of wages. His stand was endorsed at the meeting by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

The Finance Minister also pledged the Government not to increase taxes, and said he will force local governments as well to keep from increasing taxes. In spite of these warnings, the Mapam and Communist parties have formed special workers’ “actions committees,” in an effort to force Histadrut, the Israel, Federation of Labor, to reject the Mapai stand. The leftists called for warning strikes and emphasized that they are against freezing the wages.

Meanwhile, new cost-of-living indices published officially today showed that prices have gone up again during the first half of this year. These increases will, in turn, force upping of the cost-of-living allowances paid to workers. Manufacturers have given assurances that they will absorb the hiked allowances, while the Government is also ready to make some concessions. The net result, it was predicted, is that there will be no general price increases for consumer goods in 1963.

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