JERUSALEM (Jun. 23)
The township of Beit Shean was decked with flags yesterday for the visit of Premier Yitzhak Rabin and a delegation of Hadassah, headed by Mrs. Rose Matzkin, president of the American women’s Zionist organization. The occasion was significant because only 18 months ago Beit Shean was the target of a terrorist attack that took the lives of several of its citizens. It has experienced at least 50 Katyusha rocket attacks in recent years.
But despite this, people are moving to Beit Shean, not leaving it, Rabin told an overflow audience in the town’s Roman amphitheater last night. He cited this movement as proof of “the indestructible spirit of the people of Israel.” He declared that “What happens in Beit Shean is more important than what is said in the Kremlin and Cairo or the nonsense spoken in the United Nations. I don’t have to dwell on political issues because we in Israel have done all we can and if the other side wants peace or another interim agreement, they need only contact us, they know our position,” the Premier said.
He told the townspeople that “the only limit to the expansion” of Beit Shean “is lack of housing.” He said the government had to reduce its housing budget for Beit Shean by one-third because of the economic crisis. At a question-and-answer session with the Hadassah group, Rabin defended Histadrut. He was asked whether the low productivity of Israeli workers was not due to excessive power of the trade unions. He replied that productivity required better management as well as better labor relations. He praised Histadrut for protecting wages and savings of Israeli workers who, he stressed, earn far less than workers in America and Europe.