NEW YORK (Sep. 8)
A campaign to sell $100 million in State of Israel Bonds during the last four months of 1968 was unanimously adopted here today at the closing session of a three-day economic emergency conference of the Israel Bond Organization. The goal was set in a response to a cabled message from Prime Minister Levi Eshkol of Israel who declared that the need for Israel Linda is “greater than ever, since the drastic cuts in the current development budget necessitated by heavy but vital defense expenditures can only be covered by increased sales of Israel Bonds.”
The $100 million goal for the last third of the year was proposed to the assemblage of 450 Jewish leaders from the United States and Canada by Samuel Rothberg, of Peoria, Ill., national campaign chairman of the Israel Bond Organization. He disclosed that during the first eight months of the year, the sale of Israel Bonds in the United States, Canada and other parts of the free world amounted to $05,548,700. “Every Israel bond sold will indicate,” he said, “that we are prepared to back our brothers in Israel and stand at their side.” Mr. Eshkol’s mention of “drastic cuts” in Israel’s development budget referred to the diversion of $57 million for defense needs last May from a development budget of $289 million. “Internal stability, social improvements and economic development are as important for our survival as diplomatic and military readiness, and we look to Israel Bonds to give us the capital needed to continue these advances,” Mr. Eshkol said in his message.
Dr. Joseph Burg, Israel’s Minister of Social Welfare, told the final session, that despite the tremendous burden of defense, Israel was determined to maintain the standard of living which has been attained, both for new immigrants and for those who have been there for many years. He stressed the importance of Israel Bonds for reconstruction and rehabilitation and said they created new possibilities for urgently needed industrial development.
Louis H. Boyar, chairman of the board of governors, announced that more than 600 Reform, Conservative and Orthodox synagogues would participate in a special effort for Bond sales during the forthcoming High Holidays.
An earlier session heard from Zeev Sharef, Israel’s new Finance Minister and Minister for Commerce and Industry, who called on the delegates to remember the past weeks’ events in Czechoslovakia and declared, “it is we who have prevented the Middle East from becoming another Eastern Europe.” Our friends will do well, he said, “to give us the tools to maintain our strength.”
Mr. Sharef emphasized that the flow of Soviet arms and technological support to the Arab states placed a defense burden on the people of Israel proportionately greater than current U.S. expenditures for defense. He said Israel was forced to spend a higher proportion of its resources on defense than almost any other country in the world and warned that this could continue for years, as long as the Arabs refuse to make peace. He said Israel’s economic growth would have to be extremely rapid during the next few years and would demand additional resources as well as additional, better trained manpower, goals which depend heavily on funds provided through Israel Bonds.
Abraham Feinberg, president of the Israel Bond Organization, said that the failure of the Arab states to respond to Israel’s call for peace negotiations has reduced the people of Israel “to a twilight existence in which they are denied the fruits of peace as well as of victory.” The $100 million goal adopted by the emergency conference was anticipated at its opening session by Dr. Joseph J. Schwartz, vice president of the Israel Bond Organization who stressed that increased bond sales were needed to fill the gap created by Israel’s defense needs. “The pace of economic growth can be maintained through an increased response to Israel Bonds, which have been the backbone of the country’s economic expansion during the past 17 years,” he said.