JERUSALEM (Feb. 27)
David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s former Prime Minister, envisaged here today the expansion of the population in the Negev Desert to 2, 000, 000 in the next 20 years, and said that advocacy of Negev development is the main reason for his forthcoming trip to the United States.
Mr. Ben-Gurion discussed the plans for Negev development at a conference today with foreign correspondents here, who honored him prior to his departure, scheduled for Wednesday, for a tour of the United States, Canada and Britain.
Another of his principal aims during the tour, he declared, will be to urge an increase in the teaching of the Bible to the younger generations of Jews, He called the Bible “one of the main links among the Jews today, a link which will become even more important in the future. “
The development of the Negev, he told the journalists, is “practically the key to Israel’s future. ” To accomplish that goal, he said, the Negev will need an increase in pioneering as well as “the most efficient tools of modern technology, both in industry and in agriculture.”
“If I had my choice, ” stated the ex-Premier, “I would want every Jew immigrating to Israel to settle in the Negev,” Asked whether he thought many American Jews would do so, he replied: “Maybe not many, but certainly some.”
Mr. Ben-Gurion declared that on his three-week tour abroad, he will not confer with any national leaders in the countries he is to visit, and that he will refrain from discussing internal Israeli political affairs.
In the United States, he is scheduled to deliver five major addresses under the sponsorship of the United Jewish Appeal and the UJA’s Israel Education Fund, as well as before the Israel Bond conference to be held at Miami Beach. Among the cities he will visit will be New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston and Philadelphia, as well as Miami. In Canada he will spend several days.
During the trip, Mr. Ben-Gurion will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of his marriage. He and the former Miss Paula Munweis were married in Brooklyn in 1917. Mr. Ben-Gurion recalled that the marriage was in the afternoon because, that morning, he was busy addressing a meeting of the Poale Zion in New York.