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Israel Ministry Charged with Mismanagement of State-owned Forests

August 17, 1959
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Minister of Agriculture Kadish Luz sent urgent instructions today to Amihud Goor, head of the ministry’s forestry division, to return to Israel from a South American tour to answer public charges of mismanagement of the state-owned forests.

The charges against Mr. Goor and his department were made by Joseph Weitz, head of the development department of the Jewish National Fund. Mr. Weitz alleged that only about 25 percent of the 12,500,000 trees planted by the Ministry survived, as compared to some 80 percent of survival in the JNF forests.

The Ministry of Agriculture conceded that a smaller percentage of the saplings it planted survived, but argued that this was due to the fact that the forests being planted by the Ministry were–for reasons of economy–not irrigated as were the JNF plantings, Mr, Weitz had charged that the failure of the state plantings was due to mismanagement, “disorganization” and labor practices.

Behind the charges, which have been attracting considerable attention here in this election season, lay mounting friction between the Ministry of Agriculture and the JNF, One issue is control of the afforestation program under a recent law establishing a National Forest Administration combining the state and JNF forests.

Mr. Weitz and the JNF want the head of the new administration to be a JNF veteran. The Ministry of Agriculture wants the job to go to a ministry official.

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