JERUSALEM (Jun. 17)
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan said today that while Israel regards the present Mideast situation as “transitory,” a new war has begun. It is not an all-out war but rather a gradual “warming up” along the cease-fire lines, he said. Gen. Dayan gave this appraisal to more than 200 delegates from abroad attending the International Conference on Human Needs in Israel. The delegates represent major fund-raising bodies in the United States and 23 other countries. The purpose of their conference is to appraise Israel’s needs in the fields of housing, education and immigrant absorption. Gen. Dayan spoke at a closed military briefing which also heard from Israel’s Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Haim Bar-Lev and Maj. Gen. Zvi Tsur, the Deputy Minister of Defense.
A communique released afterwards reported that Gen. Dayan said the new warfare consisted of sniping, artillery exchanges and terrorist raids, all in violation of the cease-fire agreements. He said a full-scale war was not envisaged but that the situation along the borders could deteriorate further.
Gen. Bar-Lev said the Israel Army has achieved its main objectives: re-enforcement of the cease-fire lines; the administration of one million Arabs in the occupied territories without undue difficulties; and frustration of terrorist efforts to cause a general uprising in the occupied territories. He said Israel could hold out indefinitely in the present situation even if there is a deterioration along the cease-fire lines. Gen. Tsur described Israel’s defense budget and explained the economic aspects of national security, plans for acquiring additional weapons and equipment and Israel’s plans to produce defense items for itself.
SLUM CLEARANCE, HOUSING, HEALTH, AGRICULTURE, EDUCATION ON AGENDA
Slum clearance and the shortage of housing were cited today as two of the most important social problems facing Israel. Minister of Housing Mordecai Bentov described the situation to a workshop on housing at the International Conference on Human Needs. The housing workshop met under the chairmanship of Jack D. Weiler, a New York real estate executive. Abraham Rad, of Iran, served as co-chairman. The 204 delegates split into working groups today, each dealing with another aspect of Israel’s human needs.
Mr. Bentov said the housing shortage increased social tensions and slum conditions influenced future generations, and noted that slum clearance was less expensive in the long run than the cost of slum existence. Mr. Bentov said that rentals in Israel average from $75 to $85 per month. For this reason, housing is an essential requirement of the State and must be heavily subsidized, he said. The Minister said that 13,000 new housing units were constructed last year but the need is for 90,000 units plus absorption centers and new hospitals.
Minister of Health Israel Barzilai described the various illnesses introduced into the country by new immigrants. He spoke to the workshop on health chaired by Mrs. Charlotte Jacobson of New York, a member of the American Section of the Jewish Agency executive. Mr. Barzilai said the diseases ranged from trachoma, common among immigrants from Oriental countries, to drug addiction among young people who came from Western lands. He said that despite the increase in types of illness, Israel’s infant mortality rate has decreased considerably and is among the lowest in the world. He said the big problem was a shortage of doctors and of auxiliary medical personnel. He pointed out that a recent strike in a large Government hospital was over the shortage of nurses, not wages.
A workshop in agricultural settlement, chaired by Rabbi Israel Breslau of Washington, D.C. and Isador A. Magit of Australia heard from Dr. Raanan Weitz, head of the Jewish Agency’s agricultural settlement department and Yaacov Tsur, chairman of the Jewish National Fund. Dr. Weitz said that about 500 rural settlements were established since 1948 of which about 300 are economically and socially self-sufficient. He said there were about 50 settlements dating from before Israel’s independence which were not yet consolidated. He attributed this to lack of funds and the fact that a large proportion of their inhabitants are immigrants from the Oriental countries. Dr. Weitz said the usual methods of integrating immigrants were inadequate as far as they were concerned. New methods have been worked out and employed in the Lachish regional settlement area which, were successful, he said. Mr. Tsur noted that most of the land in Israel requires costly reclamation. He said 45 percent of the land available for settlement was provided by the JNF which builds roads, clears away rocks and levels the ground.
NEW DEVELOPMENT TOWNS, ANALYSIS OF 1968 NEWCOMERS ARE CONSIDERED
The problem of finding means of support for the 20 percent of new immigrants arriving with a low level of education and skills was discussed in a workshop on manpower and development towns, chaired by Louis Stern of Newark, N.J., Nissim Gaon of Switzerland and Rabbi Mordecai Kirshblum, a member of the Jewish Agency Executive in Israel, served as co-chairmen. Mordecai Allon, mayor of Upper Nazareth, a new development town, described the purpose of Israel’s population which is made up largely of immigrants with low skills and little education. The average population of these towns is 10,000 and special facilities are needed in them such as cultural centers and social workers.
Deputy Minister of Absorption Arye Eliav said that many new immigrants are young and most have skills or professions that enable them to integrate rapidly. He said that out of 30,000 newcomers last year, 500 were engineers, 2,000 clerical workers and 2,500 with experience in trade and industry. He said 80 percent of them are likely to be absorbed into the economy. The problem lies with the 20 percent who lack trades, skills or professions.
Meyer Weisgal, former president of the Weizmann Institute of Science, chaired the workshop on higher education of which Charles J. Bensley, of New York and Mrs. Fela Perelman of Belgium are co-chairmen. Speakers representing various institutions of higher learning agreed that facilities were insufficient to train the large numbers of students that Israel requires. They said it costs the state $17.000 to train a student for science even if he pays full tuition fees. The workshop was told that Jews of Oriental extraction comprised 55 percent of the school population at the primary level, 40 percent in secondary school and only 12 percent at university level. Educators said that to increase the number of Oriental Jews who receive a higher education required financial assistance almost from birth as well as special courses to help them along the way. But educational standards, the workshop was told, must not be lowered.