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Butz Praises Israel’s Achievements in the Field of Agriculture

Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz ended a two-day visit to Israel yesterday with expressions of praise and admiration for Israel’s accomplishments in the field of agriculture. He quoted–by heart–a verse from the Bible to illustrate his understanding that Israel’s achievements were the result of sacrifice and sweat. One outcome of Butz’s brief visit here was a “gentlemen’s agreement” for the U.S. to supply Israel with quantities of grain–mostly wheat–soya beans and edible fats over the next few years.

Asked by reporters if the U.S. would consider an embargo of grain shipments to the Arab countries if the latter threatened the West with a new oil embargo. Butz replied that Arab imports of grains from the U.S. were not large enough to make a difference. As he boarded his special plane for Greece, his next step on his current tour, the American Cabinet member noted that Israel has one of the most advanced agricultural establishments in the world. He expressed particular admiration for the automatic irrigation system that conserves water, observing that Israel enjoys the highest crop yield per cubic meter of water in the world.

Butz spent his two days here as the guest of Agriculture Minister Aharon Uzzan on the letter’s farm at Gilat in the Negev. They visited moshavim in the Lachish region that grow flowers for export.

Afterwards, Butz quoted a passage from Chapt. 6 of the Book of Amos: “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion,,, that lie upon beds of ivory and eat the lambs out of the flock and the calves out of the midst of the stall.” He added, “What I saw this day was not accomplished by men who were at ease in Zion, It was accomplished by people who had a vision of production and sacrifice.”

Speaking on a political level, Butz decried the politicization of international organizations such as the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) where the Palestine Liberation Organization has been given observer status without voting rights. The Secretary said that while the PLO may qualify for such status, it was wrong to introduce politics into such apolitical bodies. The UN General Assembly is the place for international politics, he said.

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