Basle (Oct. 18)
Israel’s Deputy Premier Yigal Allon urged the Jewish National Fund yesterday to undertake development work in the administered Arab territories in order to strengthen Israel’s security and defense positions. Allon mentioned the Gaza Strip, northern Sinai, the Golan Heights, the Jerusalem area and the Jordan Valley. He is attending the JNF’s 70th anniversary celebrations in this Swiss city where the Jewish land reclamation agency was founded in 1901 by Theodor Herzl and Herman Schapira.
Speakers at last night’s ceremonies stressed that the JNF still had a vital mission to carry out for Israel’s security and survival. Allon challenged the Arab states. “You have tried Israel’s will to exist three times you try us now around a conference table,” he said. Louis A. Pincus, president of the World Zionist Executive and chairman of the Jewish Agency stressed the need for the JNF to work in closer contact with central Jewish organizations to increase its efficiency.
The meeting was greeted on behalf of the Swiss government by Dr. Karl Huber, the Federal Chancellor. He was a last minute replacement for Nello Cello, vice-president of the Swiss Federal Council. According to unconfirmed rumors, Cello cancelled his appearance due to Arab diplomatic pressure in Berne. The Arabs apparently claimed that the official participation of a member of the Swiss government at the Congress would be in contradiction with Switzerland’s policy of political neutrality.