MIAMI (Feb. 29)
An economically strong Israel is vital to the attainment of peace in the Middle East, Yigal Allon, Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister of Israel, declared here last night as he called for wider economic aid to Israel from Jews in the United States and Canada.
“We shall be in a much stronger position at the negotiating table if our economy, as well as our defense, is sound and impregnable,” he said. “An economically and socially strong Israel will improve its military posture and political bargaining position,” he said. Allon officially launched the 1976 International Inaugural Conference of State of Israel Bonds attended by more than 1000 Jewish leaders from the U.S. and Canada.
Calling attention to “the spectacular proliferation” of Arab wealth in recent years, Allon stressed that “it represented a thrust of the greatest magnitude to the economic stability of Israel.” Israel’s troubled economy may become “a weak link in our chain of defense against the political warfare of the Arab world,” he warned.
DANGER OF UNEMPLOYMENT HIKE
Israel faces “the danger of a marked rise in unemployment for the first time in many years,” Allon said. But he emphasized that it was the result of drastic measures taken by the Israel government to reduce inflation and increase exports. In 1975 Israel’s balance of payments deficit amounted to $3.9 billion, the highest in its history.
Allon noted that increased unemployment would be a “serious threat” to the country’s capacity to provide jobs for new immigrants. In this connection, he said, while Israel continues to give its “vigorous support to the right of Soviet Jews and Jews in Syria and other Arab lands to emigrate, it would be a very sad state of affairs if we failed to have the economic means to give jobs to those who might be permitted to come to Israel in larger numbers in the near future.”
BRUSSELS II MUST BE SUPPLEMENTED
Sam Rothberg, general chairman of the Israel Bond Organization, who presided, declared that the recent Brussels World Conference on Soviet Jewry “must be supplemented with concrete action through the Israel Bond campaign to create jobs in Israel for those Jews who would be permitted to leave Soviet Russia for Israel in the coming year.”
Rothberg called for a wider mobilization of American and Canadian Jews for the sale of Israel Bonds “to provide the largest possible share of Israel’s development budget of $1 billion this year.” He said “the example of sacrifice has been set for us in Israel’s new budget which has placed numerous additional burdens and hardships on its citizens.”