JERUSALEM (Nov. 19)
Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir painted a picture of progress on all economic fronts in Israel In his annual economic report to the Cabinet today and promised greater achievements in housing, education and welfare. Israel has “nothing to be ashamed of “in the social and economic spheres, Sapir said. But he warned against increasing inflationary pressures.
During his three-and-a-half hour presentation, Sapir expressed confidence that the housing shortage for newly married couples would be ended by 1975. He said IL 150 million and $150 million have been contributed toward health, education and welfare projects by private sources which he did not Identify; 6500 hospital beds are being built in new hospitals and extensions of existing hospitals; and that in four years a 10th grade education will be made free and compulsory. At present, compulsory education ends In the ninth grade.
Sapir reported 108 strikes this year, 32 fewer than during the corresponding period of last year. He said the strikes caused the loss of 162,000 work days against 165,000 work days lost In the corresponding period last year, and that the number of strikes in the public sector dropped from 80 last year to 50 this year.
Other points made by Sapir were that IL 3 billion has been Invested In building and that Israel’s trade deficit will be $100 million. According to the World Bank, Israel’s economy ranks 18th of 122 countries with populations of over one million, and ranks 48th among nation’s generally. It compares favorably with the economy of Egypt which has 10 times Israel’s population.