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Israel Minister Reports 96,000 Unemployed; Proposes Unemployment Aid

Israel had 96, 000 unemployed persons by the end of 1966, out of a total labor force of 857, 000, Yigal Allon, Minister of Labor, reported here today to the Knesset (Parliament). Going into those figures, during the Knesset’s budget debate, he noted that by the end of 1965 the unemployed in Israel numbered 32,000.

“These data, looked at in the perspective of Israel’s current economic recession, reveal the weakness of Israel’s economy, and force us to the moment of truth, ” he declared. “This truth must be found by reducing living standards, transferring service workers into production work, and raising the country’s productivity.”

He proposed that unemployment compensation be paid ”at least during the transition period” to persons registering at labor exchanges but unable to find work. The compensation, he said, should range from $35 monthly to a single person to $78 a month to the heads of large families. In addition, he said, family allowances should be paid by the Social Insurance Institute.

Persons entitled to benefits, he advised, should include all age brackets, from age 21 to age 65. However, he added, new immigrants should be entitled to receive benefits from the age of 18, and those newcomers who support families would get benefits even if they are under 18. Special arrangements, he declared, should be made to pay benefits to sailors and to professionals unable to get work through their own labor exchanges.

In evaluating the current recession, the Labor Minister said that the economic difficulties are now “more than half-way over.” He predicted that unemployment will gradually decrease in 1967, while production and export figures will continue to rise.

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