Israel Supplying One-third of World’s Demand for Polished Diamonds

Israel is supplying one-third of the total world demand for polished diamonds, Lord Drumbalyn, Minister of State at the Board of Trade in the prior Conservative Government, told the annual luncheon of the Anglo-Israel Chamber of Commerce today.

Reporting on a visit to Israel he made while still in office, Lord Drumbalyn said that Israel was rapidly turning into a modern industrial state with an annual industrial rate of growth of 15 percent, “a figure to excite British envy.” He said Israel was buying from Britain annually 21,700,000 pounds ($60,760,000) worth of rough diamonds and reselling to Britain polished diamonds for some 3,000,000 pounds ($8,400,000) annually.

In addition, he said, Britain sold to Israel in 1963 products worth 23,000,000 pounds (064,000,000). That total had already been exceeded this year. He noted that Israeli sales to Britain had fallen slightly between 1961 and 1963 to 17,600,000 pounds ($49,280,000) and added that British exporters had been given an opportunity, with the forthcoming end of West German reparations payments in products to Israel, to increasing their sales to Israel. He warned that the competition was severe.

Discussing the Arab boycott of Israel, he said it had been the policy of the British Government–”and I have no reason to suppose the present Government takes a different view–” that it was not the business of the Government to advise individual firms on how to react to the boycott. He said that it was for the blacklisted firms “to decide what to do about it.”

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