NEW YORK (Jul. 10)
British “sanctions” are in effect against Israel, Jack D. Weiler, one of the United States’ top Jewish leaders, asserted today in an interview. Back from Israel, where he served as chairman of the housing committee during the recent Human Needs Conference there, Mr. Weiler said he and other delegates conferred with Israeli Government leaders.
The modern British Chieftain tanks, for which Israel put in a bid last year, have been denied to her so long as the Big Four meetings on the Middle East continue, he said. The general sentiment among the people and Government of Israel, Mr. Weiler said, in viewing the British Government’s refusal to sell the tanks, was that the people of Israel would have to “go it alone” but with the support and backing of the world’s Jews.
A priority consideration in this connection is the building of housing for immigrants, he said. At present, according to Mr. Weiler, a real estate developer who headed a small group who built 12,000 housing units in Israel a few years ago. 100,000 families live in slum areas. One fourth of Israel’s children live in areas which have no place for study and recreation, he said, adding that 40,000 families are living with four persons in one room. The psychological and social importance of this condition increases enormously, he said, in the face of the Arab threat to Israel’s security.
Yet, he said, the 35,000 immigrants per year that Israel expects–the equivalent of an immigration of more than three million in the United States–will need housing. To meet this need, Israel is spending 9.2 percent of its gross national product for housing as compared with comparable U.S. spending of 4.4 percent. Mr. Weiler quoted Foreign Minister Abba Eban as saying to the Human Needs parley that Israel has more problems per square mile and more problems per capita than any other nation in the world. Mr. Weiler said that his committee made specific recommendations for financing the solution to the problem of housing. At least $200 million will be needed for 1969-70 based on an anticipated immigration of 35,000 in this period, he added.