Eshkol Says Israel Needs Immigrants to Populate Territories

Premier Levi Eshkol told a seminar attended by American Conservative rabbis here last night that Israel needed increased immigration from the United States which would make an important contribution to the nation’s economic development and security. The event was a joint meeting of the Histadrut. Israel’s labor federation, and the Rabbinical Assembly of America.

Mr. Eshkol emphasized that Israel now controlled vast territories after the victory in the June war while half of its pre-war area was still uninhabited. He said Israel needed new settlers to fill some of this vacuum and that they could come only from lands of affluence. He also said that while territorial expansion was not necessarily vital, Israel would not evacuate occupied Arab areas until a satisfactory peace agreement was achieved.

Government and Jewish Agency officials will meet this week to map out detailed plans for immigration and adequate absorption methods, following agreement between Mr. Eshkol and Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Zionist Organization.

The tremendous wave of enthusiasm for Israel which rose with the six-day war in the Jewish communities throughout the world has encouraged leaders here to believe that this is the opportune moment to develop large-scale immigration from the affluent lands of the West.

In some political quarters, the suggestion is again being heard that a special portfolio for the encouragement of immigration and its handling should be set up in the Israel Cabinet.

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