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Conference of World Jewish Leaders Pledges to Aid Israel’s Economic Objectives

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The more than 60 leading Jewish personalities in finance and industry from around the world, attending a two-day economic conference at the request of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, gave assurances today they would begin practical work in helping Israel to market and promote its exports. The conference closed today.

A number of them criticized Israel’s economic policies. They listed high taxes, excessive bureaucracy, government competition with private enterprise, high interest rates and high labor costs creating high production costs. However, in the discussion which followed the complaints, some of the Jewish leaders expressed satisfaction of the profitability of their own investments in Israel.

Some of the leaders said that their experiences here and abroad indicated it was essential to create a central marketing agency for Israeli exports, as well as direct contacts for Israeli manufacturers with marketing bureaus abroad. Another topic discussed was a proposal for creation of a private company for development of applied science.

The conference was called with two main goals. One was arrangements to advise Israel on how best to advance its objective of economic independence. The other was to prepare plans for a large-scale economic meeting scheduled for April.

ESHKOL THANKS THE ASSEMBLED LEADERS; PINCUS STRESSES ABSORPTION NEEDS

Mr. Eshkol expressed his gratitude to the leaders who had responded to his invitation. He outlined Israel’s peace policy which, he said, includes the furtherance of economic cooperation and regional planning with the Arab states, and equitable relations with the population in the areas that had been occupied by Israel as the result of the recent Arab-Israel war. The participants also heard addresses by Labor Minister Yigal Allon, discussing the structure of Israel’s labor force, and Foreign Minister Abba Eban, who presented a political review.

Aryeh L. Pinous, chairman of the Jewish Agency, stressed at the conference the role that has been played in Israel’s economy by the United Jewish Appeal and the Keren Hayesod, the fund-raising arm of the World Zionist Organization. In spite of the “staggering sum” of $450,000,000 contributed in the last 10 years, mostly by American Jewry, he said, “the amount was inadequate for Israel’s absorption needs, and the difference had to be met by Israel.

“This occurred despite the agreed-upon demarcation of the burdens which cast upon the Jewish people in the free world the task of being responsible for the absorption of the Jews from countries where they faced discrimination and distress. This demarcation was logical and correct. The Israel Government’s policy of economic restraint makes it less possible now for Israel’s taxpayers to take up the slack in absorption and to narrow the gap in real integration,” he pointed out.

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