NEW YORK (Aug. 25)
Israel Finance Minister Yoram Aridor told a gathering of prominent Israel Bond leaders that, despite the problems caused by the Lebanese conflict, Israel is in good economic shape and can sustain itself.
“The economy of Israel is basically sound,” he said. “Our moral is good, our defense is good and our potential for on even stronger economy is good. We are just the same as we were — one people, one faith, one purpose and one heart that beats in the same place. There is no panic, no rationing.
“Although we have many problems due to the enormous cost of the war and the diversion of manpower from industry and other work sectors to the military, Israel expects to overcome these obstacles in time.”
Aridor spoke at a Greater New York leadership luncheon meeting which was held to mobilize Bond monies for Israel’s emergency development needs. Thirty top Israel Band leaders attended the gathering, which resulted in the sale of more than $3.2 million in Bond subscriptions.
CITES IMPACT OF WAR ON ISRAEL’S ECONOMY
Calling on the American Jewish community to double its efforts on behalf of the ongoing Bond campaign to raise $100 million in 10 weeks to offset the impact of the events in Lebanon on Israel’s economy, Aridor said:
“A war has to be paid not only in blood but also in money. We had to levy taxes of nearly a billion dollars to cover the cost of the war. Some say that this adds to the sacrifices already being borne by our people. But when we in Israel speak about sacrifice we mean the human sacrifice. And we sacrificed more than 330 soldiers in this war. This loss has hurt us more than anything else.
“So when I ask you to help us, I am not requesting your aid in helping to pay for the cost of the war. Israel will do that. What I am requesting is that you help us strengthen our economy and take care of other vital needs so that we can continue our normal lives in Israel.”
In response to a question on chances for peace now that the conflict in Lebanon is ending, Aridor said: “There is a new sun rising above the Middle East and, for the first time since Camp David, there is a hope for peace. But this will depend on a free Lebanon, without any foreign intervention — no PLO, no Syrians and no Israelis. Without the PLO and its Soviet influence, a peace treaty is possible between Israel and Lebanon and perhaps with other Arab states.”