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Histadrut Leader Announces Major Step to Boost Israel Economy in 1963

Israel’s efforts to stabilize its economy and improve its competitive position in trading with the European Common Market will receive a major boost later this year, with the establishment of a joint Government-Labor-Industry body designed to keep track of changes in the nation’s productivity and which will furnish data to serve as a basis for future wage and price negotiations.

Ben-Zion Han, newly appointed American representative of the executive board of the Histadrut, the Israel Labor Federation, today disclosed these plans. The new agency will be called the Israel Institute for the Determination of Increases in the Gross National Product. Mr. Han, who succeeds Isaiah Avrech in the Histadrut post here, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that the Institute would include representatives of the Government, Histadrut, major cooperatives and private industry, as well as leading independent economists.

Mr. Han pointed to the need for all sectors of Israel’s economy to stabilize the cost of living “to enable Israeli industry and agriculture to successfully compete with those of other countries, and to meet the challenge of significant changes in the economy of Western Europe and elsewhere. ” He noted that the new agency would contribute towards such stability.

He cited recent statements by Aharon Becker, secretary-general of the Histadrut, in support of the agreements worked out between the Government, Histadrut and the Israeli manufacturers, aimed at freezing prices, taxes, wages and fringe benefits for a period of one year. He noted that Mr. Becker had expressed the hope that the wage-price-tax freeze would serve to improve the nation’s productivity to the point where it would be possible to further raise the standard of living of the worker, while maintaining Israel’s competitive position in world trade.

(Extracts of a radio interview he recorded in Tel Aviv, which were made available to the JTA and published in the Daily News Bulletin on March 5, gave Mr. Becker’s views out of context and did not make it clear that the Histadrut leader spoke of a period of one year for a wage, tax and price freeze.)

Mr. Han announced that Mr. Becker, who has not been in the United States for several years, had accepted an invitation by George Meany, president of the AFL-CIO, to attend the American labor organization’s convention in this country next November.

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