JERUSALEM (Aug. 7)
The recent pro-Israel debate at the United Nations Security Council, and the “far above usual protocol” treatment accorded by the Johnson Administration to Israel’s President Zaiman Shazar when the latter visited Washington, are signs of the understanding the world has at present of the problems facing Israel, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol reported today at the weekly meeting of the Cabinet here.
President Shazar was due back home within a few hours of the Cabinet session, where final plans were made for a tremendous reception to be given the head of state upon his return from a triumphant tour of Latin America and the United States. Wherever President Shazar went during his seven-week absence from Israel, Premier Eshkol told the Cabinet, the President was given the warmest receptions. Mr. Shazar’s trip to the United States, Mr. Eshkol noted, was planned as an unofficial tour “but became for all practical purposes a state visit.”
As this report was being delivered to the Cabinet, the Israel Government and the municipality of Jerusalem were completing preparations for an official welcome to President and Mrs. Shazar. The entire Cabinet headed by the Premier was to greet the President. Mount Herzl had been wired for special illumination, and bright lights were also to decorate many monuments in greeting to the President. Later, President Shazar was to summon a special meeting of the Cabinet to report on his tour abroad.
Referring to the U.N. Security Council, Mr. Eshkol noted in his report to the Cabinet that the debate there on Syria’s complaint against Israel “had shown general widespread understanding for Israel’s position.” The Council had adjourned the debate on Syria’s grievance against Israel’s air raid into Syria on July 14, by refusing to pass a resolution that would have condemned Israel of aggression. Israel had countered by accusing Syria of countenancing raids into Israel by saboteurs organized by El Fatah, a terrorist group. Now, Mr. Eshkol told the Cabinet, it has been indicated that a number of countries are bringing pressure on Syria to halt the El Fatah attacks and to support pacification of the Syrian-Israeli border.
SEEKS CABINET’S BACKING FOR HIS NEW ECONOMIC POLICY
Mr. Eshkol also discussed with the Cabinet the serious economic situation currently facing Israel. He reiterated his earlier call on the partners in the coalition government to back his plans for a three-year economic program for the country. He said he hoped he would be ready to present that program to the Cabinet for general discussion a week from today.
As part of the Government’s plans for a new economic policy that would aid Israel’s export industries, the Treasury announced today that it is planning to allocate an additional 50,000,000 Israeli pounds (nearly $17,000,000) as “export incentives.” The Treasury stated that a start on paying those sums would be made either in January or at the beginning of the next fiscal year, which is to start on April 1, 1967. The additional monies, said the Treasury, would raise the export subsidies to more than 100,000,000 Israeli pounds (over $33,000,000).
However, a member of Israel’s Parliament representing Mapam, Yaacov Hazan, warned this weekend that Mapam, which is a member of the coalition, might quit the Cabinet over the new economic policy plans. Israel, he said, addressing a country-wide kibbutz meeting at Yagur, near Haifa, cannot adopt the “cure of unemployment” to solve its economic difficulties. Such a “cure” he said, will not only discourage further immigration into Israel but will halt immigration altogether.
Demanding “a just distribution of the burden of economic restraint,” Mr. Hazan said that, in his opinion, the Government is trying to pass most of that burden on to the shoulders of the “less prosperous” sectors of Israel’s population. He warned that “a working class in the throes of fear is a riotous element,” and said that riots “could happen here.”