Israel Cabinet Votes Additional Capital to Aid Zim National Line
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Israel Cabinet Votes Additional Capital to Aid Zim National Line

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The Israel Cabinet decided today to give the Zim National Shipping Line additional capital to cope with a shortage of working funds and a heavy debt, and also to reduce the rate of interest on the Government’s loans to Zim. The decision followed lengthy discussions of Zim’s financial difficulties in various committees, which followed an urgent appeal for funds from the company several months ago. The share capital of Zim will be increased by $14,000,000. The three partners in the firm — the Government, the Jewish Agency and Histadrut, Israel’s labor federation — will each buy $3,000,000 worth of shares. In addition, the Government will reduce Zim debts to it by $5,000,000.

The rate of interest which Zim has been paying to the Government for passenger ships ordered from West Germany will be reduced from 5 percent to 3 percent. Zim’s total debts now stand at $62,000,000. A proposal to divide Zim into two separate companies, one for freight and one for passengers, was referred back to a Ministerial Committee on financial matters. A senior Government official said the consensus in the Cabinet was that such separate companies will be formed.


In another action today, a committee of Ministers ended a year-long deadlock by approving rules for election of both Sephardic and Askenazic rabbis for local religious functions. The three Ministers — Ashkenazi Minister of Religions Zorach Warhaftig, and Sephardic Police Minister Behor Shitreet and Minister of Posts Eliahu Sasson — decided that each locality could elect an additional rabbi, if one-third of the residents so vote.This means that each locality will again have two official rabbis — one Sephardic and one Ashkenazic.

However, elections will not be held until after the November Parliamentary elections. Local rabbis have a number of official functions, such as being empowered to register marriages and supervising kosher production, with part of their salary paid by the Government. The decision is subject to approval by the entire Cabinet.

The Cabinet decided today to recommend a clause in Israel’s law against genocide, which would abolish any period of limitations for prosecution of such crimes.

The proposal, which is in accordance with a resolution adopted by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, will be submitted to the new Parliament after the November elections.

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