Jewish Agency Committee Recommends Curtailment in Settlement Dept.
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Jewish Agency Committee Recommends Curtailment in Settlement Dept.

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A special, eight-man committee named by the Jewish Agency executive last March to investigate the activities of the Agency’s settlement department recommended today the abolition of some of that division’s sub-departments and the consolidation of other sub-departments with Government ministries engaged in the same type of work.

The committee, headed by Yitzhak Ben-Aharon, also called for personnel reductions, but gave no figures on the number of employes who may face discharge. However, a spokesman for the Agency said that about 25 percent of the department’s 1,300-member staff are “redundant.”

The committee’s principal recommendation for immediate action proposed the formation of two steering committees. One of these groups would coordinate the department’s activities with those of the Government’s Ministry of Agriculture, involving the abolition of the Agency department’s parallel work. The other group would work toward the economic consolidation of the settlements in Israel with agricultural projects. The committee recommended that about 400 settlements in Israel become completely independent of the Jewish Agency within the next four years.

Among the sub-departments recommended for abolition are those concerned with tractor stations, water works and housing. “The Agency settlement department,” said Mr. Ben-Aharon in submitting the committee’s report, “still has important tasks to fulfill, especially in development areas. But the department’s organization must be streamlined, and personnel must be reduced.”

At a luncheon tendered here today to Aryeh L. Pincus, chairman of the Jewish Agency executive, by the press attaches of Israeli Ministries, Mr. Pincus declared that Agency staff curtailment would be “only the first step in the direction of reorganization.” He said the Agency felt the need for reorganization and has “started to examine how this can be effected.” He also reviewed the Jewish Agency’s cultural activities abroad.

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