NEW YORK (Sep. 11)
Israel’s Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir disclosed here yesterday that Arab terrorism costs his country $25 million a year just to protect its embassies and facilities abroad. That figure was cited by the Israeli leader as only part of the growing economic burden Israel must bear to meet the soaring costs of defense, immigrant absorption and necessary imports.
Addressing a meeting of American Zionist Federation leaders, Sapir said the cost of living in Israel is one of the highest in the world. He said the government cannot raise prices and, therefore, must subsidize basic products in the amount of IL 1.3 billion annually.
He noted that Israel must pay $300 million more for “basic commodities” imported from the U.S. than it paid in 1971. He said that oil consumption in Israel has soared from eight million barrels per annum in 1958 to 63 million barrels by the end of this year. “And oil is much more expensive now and is going to be even higher in the near future,” he said.
Sapir predicted that Israel’s gross national product would reach IL 42 billion ($10 billion) in 1977 compared to IL 31 billion ($7.4 billion) in 1972. He said this represented an aggregate growth rate of 35 percent in four years or an average rise of eight percent a year. He also estimated that industrial production would show an increase of ten percent by 1977, up from IL 22 billion ($5 billion) to IL 30 billion ($7 billion).