Land Speculation Among Israel’s Pressing Problems, J. N. F. Leader Reports

Land speculation is one of Israel’s most pressing problems, Mendel N. Fisher, secretary and consultant of the Jewish National Fund of America, reported here today upon his return from Israel. Both the Israel Government and the Jewish National Fund, he added, are devising means to counteract the speculation in real estate.

The speculation, Mr. Fisher explained, stems from the shortage of land parcels for private exploitation. As matters stand now, he said, about 85 percent of all land holdings in Israel are registered in the name of either the Israel Government or of the Jewish National Fund. The pressure of increased immigration and of industrial development has crated a market for land property, which is being exploited by many speculators, particularly in urban areas, he declared.

According to the information gathered by Mr. Fisher in the course of his conversations with leaders of the Government and of Keren Kayemeth in Jerusalem, special legislation will soon be introduced in the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, bolstering the powers of the Israel Land Authority and preventing the transfer of public lands into private hands. He said the JNF, at a special meeting of its board in Jerusalem, went on record as re-emphasizing its old principle of holding the land in perpetuity as the possession of the whole Jewish people, and leasing it only to those who themselves work on the soil.

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