Unemployment in Ashdod Provokes Violence; Local Police Reinforced

The port city of Ashdod remained tense today as 200 additional police arrived to reinforce the local police, after wild rioting by unemployed workers on May Day.

All 300 workers at the Leyland truck assembly plant went on strike today after 90 of them received dismissal notices from the management, which said there was not enough work to retain the full labor force. The Ashdod Labor Council announced yesterday that 1, 700 workers in the city would be laid off by September.

Twelve persons were injured and 60 arrested during a clash between police and several hundred marching demonstrators. At Dimona, in the Negev, a similar march was staged by jobless workers, leading to the arrest of six persons. When police in Ashdod charged the marchers, they began throwing stones at windows of the Labor Council Building and the nearby Workers Bank, smashing all windows in both structures. Ashdod Mayor Avner Garine and District Police Commander Shaul Rosolio appealed to the marchers to disperse, but the rioting continued. Many of the streets were strewn with broken glass, building blocks and wooden planks.

Mayor Garine led a delegation which met yesterday with Premier Levi Eshkol. The Premier told the delegation that the disturbances in Ashdod resulted from a “deterioration of labor morality” generally in Israel. He warned that the time had come for Israelis to understand that wages must stand in a logical relation to productivity, to enable Israel to produce for export. He added that, if this understanding did not develop, “we are in for a crisis.”

The delegation submitted a detailed report of the background of the violence, and made several proposals to solve the problem of unemployment in Ashdod. Premier Eshkol promised the delegation he would examine the proposals.

NEXT STORY