LOS ANGELES (Aug. 26)
Close to 900 representatives of Jewish communities of the 13 Western states were gathered here today for the Western region Israel Bond Conference, to formulate plans for accelerated campaign to aid Israel’s Negev development program.
Aryeh Manor, economic minister to Israel’s Embassy in Washington, told the conference that his country’s primary problems today were immigrant settlement and industrialization of the Negev. He emphasized Israel’s dependence on continued flow of development funds through Israel bonds to provide the structure “essential to her further economic growth,” pointing out that “you cannot build a factory before you have a road leading to it, water and electric power- -and these things Israel bonds help provide.”
Israel’s greatest natural resources are located in the Negev, he continued. “Speedy exploitation of this wasteland must be accomplished in order to provide a livelihood for increasing numbers of immigrants, and build up Israel’s economic productivity,” he declared.
Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz, Israel bonds executive vice-president, reported that “Israel has progressed consistently at a rate of 10 per cent annually, a phenomenal achievement which would not have been possible without the $640,000,000 which Americans have poured into Israel through their bond investment.”
Label A. Katz, national president of B’nai B’rith, just returned from meetings with government leaders in Israel, pointed to military security as Israel’s major problem today. Reporting on Israel’s need to maintain military strength as a deterrent to her enemies, and the abnormal financial burden this task imposes on the country’s budget, he urged that American Jews provide means for the country’s urgent peacetime development needs.
Benjamin H. Swig, of San Francisco, conference chairman, received a cabled message from Israel Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, stating that the Israel bond campaign has “opened a whole new world for pioneering initiative, providing vital capital and helping fulfill the challenges of economic consolidation.”
Other principal conference participants included Victor M. Carter, Los Angeles bond chairman; Louis H. Boyar, board of governors chairman; Samuel Rothberg, national campaign chairman; Mordechai Shalev, Israel Consul-General for Western U.S.; and Dr. Max Nussbaum; national president of the Zionist Organization of America.