JERUSALEM (Jul. 8)
Prime Minister Levi Eshkol took leave today of the Jewish Agency executive of which he was a member for 17 years. He was lauded by Moshe Sharett, chairman of the Jewish Agency, for the creative role he played by initiating and carrying out “a prodigious feat of mass settlement in the early heroic phases of the State of Israel.”
In his farewell address, Mr. Eshkol stressed that his close association with the Jewish Agency has given him “profound esteem” for its work and for the “generous assistance” which Jewry — especially the Jews in the United States — has extended to Israel through the Jewish Agency.
Pointing out that since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Agency has brought in 1,100,000 immigrants, Mr. Eshkol said: “To this we must add over 100,000 who arrived clandestinely between the end of the Second World War and the rise of the State, and it was the Jewish Agency that received them on arrival and helped them in their first attempts to take root in the land.” He predicted that 1963 would witness “the largest immigration for years, and this would mean that the Jewish people outside of Israel would be called upon to intensify their efforts this year even more than ever in the past.”
This supreme effort will be needed because the expected immigrants, Mr. Eshkol declared, “will require more care and more social services than any previous wave of immigration because of the difficult conditions from which most of them come. This will be the most expensive immigration we have ever had. The absorption and integration of these immigrants is one of the most important challenges that confronts us today, and this task falls largely on the shoulders of the Jewish Agency. “
Referring to the work of the Jewish Agency’s Agricultural Department, with which he has been personally associated for many years, Mr. Eshkol said that to the 256 agricultural settlements that existed before the creation of the State had now been added 480 new villages in which 30,000 families from all parts of the world have settled and are leading productive lives.
STRESSES URGENCY OF CONSOLIDATING AGRICULTURAL SETTLEMENTS
“But,” Mr. Eshkol warned, “the Jewish Agency could not rest on its laurels. This great array of agricultural settlements which we have established since the rise of the State is still in need of strengthening and consolidation. This is one of the most urgent tasks that confronts us today. We must not be satisfied with what we have already achieved. It is our duty — and here I am speaking particularly of the Jewish Agency — to work for the development of new settlement areas in various parts of the country. “
Though he had been specially interested in agricultural settlement, Mr. Eshkol said that he had been keenly aware of the important work done by other Agency departments which are responsible for immigration, absorption and training of immigrant youth, and in this connection he expressed his “profound esteem for their staffs, many of whom spend nights and days working at the ports, airfields and absorption centers in this country, or at transit places abroad, faithfully assisting our brethren in their arduous route. “
Without the participation of the Jewish Agency in helping to provide housing for the immigrants, Israel would not have arrived at its present position “in which every immigrant receives permanent housing immediately on arrival and where the malabarot are about to become a thing of the past. “
Stress on the role of the Jewish Agency as “the main bond between Israel and Diaspora Jewry” was placed by Mr. Eshkol. He warned the Agency leaders that they would have “to continue in the future the endeavors to preserve the unity and ensure the survival of the Jewish people. ” He pledged his continued active interest “in strengthening the ties between the Jewish people and the State of Israel, in their support of our cause, and in furthering Jewish education and the unity of our people.”