TEL AVIV (Jul. 31)
Prime Minister Levi Eshkol said today that the Keren Kayemeth, the Jewish National Fund, had done yeoman service for Israel by its program of clearing land in border areas, fostering settlements that protected these borders and building roads. He expressed confidence that in the new era for Israel following the Six-Day War, the Keren Kayemeth would undertake the same functions in opening up the more remote areas of the country.
In a letter to former Ambassador Jacob Tsur, president of the Keren Kayemeth, the Prime Minister acknowledged receipt of a comprehensive report on the Jewish National Fund’s activities since Israel achieved statehood. He said, “I regard the Keren Kayemeth activity both in Israel and the Diaspora as one of the foundation stones of Israel’s development on the one hand and in fostering the Zionist movement and changing it into a fulfilling movement for aliyah (immigration) on the other.”
In his report, Ambassador Tsur disclosed that in the 20 years since statehood, the Keren Kayemeth had reclaimed 333,000 dunam (83,200 acres) of land for settlement: had planted more than 80 million trees; and had built 1,900 kilometers (about 1,200 miles) of roads opening up new development areas and having security value.
Mr. Tsur told newsmen today that the Keren Kayemeth was undertaking a major reclamation work in the Golan Heights to develop areas for settlement there. It is also reclaiming land in the Upper Galilee and in the Judaean Hills for expansion of existing hill settlements. More work is to be done by the Keren Kayemeth, he said, in the Korazim area north of Lake Tiberias and in the Araba area, south of the Dead Sea, where three more settlements are to be established along with the five already existing there. The JNF official also reported that work is already under way preparing areas for settlement in the Latrun and Etzion districts west and south of Jerusalem.