Ben-gurion Urges 17 Years of Education for Every Israeli Pupil
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Ben-gurion Urges 17 Years of Education for Every Israeli Pupil

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Former Premier David Ben-Gurion, addressing last night 3,000 delegates and guests at the annual convention of the Mapai Party, stressed the need for Israel to bridge the educational gap between its population of Western origin and those of its residents who had come from the less–developed African and Asian regions.

Receiving an overwhelming ovation from his party adherents, Mr. Ben-Gurion said he would not touch on political or security problems “which are in good hands.” Instead, he told his party that Israel must become “an academic-labor nation.” He demanded that every Israeli receive at least 17 years of education, from the age of 3. The last two or three years of an Israeli’s education, he said, must be devoted to the learning of a profession or trade.

Moshe Sharett, chairman of the Jewish Agency executive, told the convention that Mapai had “a very dark future if it continues to deal with day-to-day problems, in which there are already appearances of a lack of the just and human approach.” He urged that Mapai renew ideologic discussions “to refresh our way of thinking and study practical views.”

Messages of greetings and support were received by the convention from the Socialist International and from Harold Wilson, leader of the British Labor Party. The Socialist International noted, in its message, that its recent congress at Amsterdam had called on the Soviet Government to cease anti-Jewish discrimination, and to permit emigration for purpose of family reunification.

The message of the Socialist International expressed “warmest thanks” for Mapai’s participation in the Socialist movement. “We would like the delegates to the Mapai convention to know,” the message declared, “that an important service was rendered to the Socialist International by the distinguished representative whom Mapai put at its disposal for a mission to Africa, Latin America and Malta. These were important political assignments which Mapai helped us to fulfill.”

Mr. Wilson, in his message, cited his “happy recollections” from his visit to Israel. He recalled that, prior to becoming the head of the British Labor Party, “I was able to get an insight into the work of both Mapai and Histadrut,” the Israeli federation of labor. “I saw in Israel,” he stated, “democratic Socialism put into practice by men and women who not only believed in their fate but lived it.” His message was read by Capt. E. Short, the British Labor Party’s chief whip in the House of Commons, who came here to represent the British Labor Party.

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