TEL AVIV (Jan. 31)
Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir urged the sale of $1 billion in Israel Bonds last night to restore the momentum of Israel’s economic growth, slowed by the Yom Kippur War, and to stimulate industrial production in the years ahead. Sapir addressed 500 Israel Bond campaign leaders from the United States and Canada who are participating in the 1974 international Bonds Conference convened by Premier Golda Meir. Sapir said that the direct cost to Israel of the Yom Kippur War was IL 30 billion and the dislocation of the economy costs several billion more.
He warned Israelis not to expect a resurgence of the economy such as that which occurred in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War “In 1967 the forward movement of the economy after the war was preceded by a slow-down period. The improved economic situation was stimulated by the almost immediate return of the reservists to the factories and farms as hostilities ended,” Sapir said. But “The Oct. war came at a time of peak economic effort and the adverse effect on the economy cannot be overcome because of the fact that a larger part of the labor force is still in uniform,” he said.
Despite the economic setback. Sapir noted, some 90 percent of the immigrants who arrived last year were fully absorbed. He said the Israeli economy must be ready to provide jobs for the tens of thousands of Jewish immigrants expected this year from Russia. The Bond leaders assured Sapir that they would make every effort to achieve the $1 billion goal. Sapir said Israel needed large investments this year in export industries, especially the chemical industry. Increased exports will make Israel less dependent on UJA funds and Bonds next year, Sapir said.
He observed that Israelis are being called upon to pay higher prices for food and to contribute to both voluntary and compulsory national loans to pay for defense needs. “We can not use Bond money for defense,” he said. “We won the war not only because we had good soldiers but because our economy was strong.” Out lining an immediate program for economic development, Sapir said Israel would have to invest $500 million in its chemical industry and to construct a nuclear power station at a cost of $500 million.
DAYAN PLEASED WITH PRESENT SITUATION
Addressing the same meeting, Defense Minister Moshe. Dayan said he believed the Egyptians would carry out their part of the disengagement agreement and would start thinning out their forces on the east bank of the Suez Canal. “In any case, we shall know in four days if the Egyptians stand by their promise,” he said. The second phase of the Israeli pullback from the west bank of the Suez Canal is scheduled to begin Feb. 4, contingent on the Egyptian thinning-out process.
Dayan said He was generally pleased with the present situation. He observed that there was a disengagement agreement with Egypt, no war on the Jordanian front and tranquility in relations with the Palestinians. The only active front is the Syrian, he said, and added that Israel would agree only to a disengagement line that allows for the defense of its settlements. Dayan said disengagement on the Jordanian border would be discussed only after some arrangement has been reached with the Syrians, even a temporary one. He said he believed the Egyptians would rehabilitate the Suez Canal and re-populate the canal side towns, moves that would further ensure against a new outbreak of war.
Meanwhile, Gen. Ensio Siilasvuo, head of UNEF, told newsmen in Jerusalem this afternoon that the first phase of disengagement–the transfer by Israel to UNEF and then to Egypt of the southern sector of the Suez Canal west bank area around the town of Suez–proceeded “smoothly and without difficulties.”