WASHINGTON (Sep. 12)
The Israel Bond Organization launched a campaign here today to sell $161 million worth of bonds in the United States and Canada between now and the year’s end. Sam Rothberg, general chairman of the IBO, told 350 delegates attending a two-day national leadership conference that achievement of the $161 million goal over the next four months would bring the total bond sales for 1971 to $300 million. He said that would represent about 80 percent of the $500 million goal set for the 16 month period Sept. 1970-Dec. 1971. The conference accepted the $161 million quota after Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. and Shimon Alexandroni, Economic Minister of Israel to the Western Hemisphere, emphasized in speeches that their country’s capacity for survival and development depended “in decisive measure” on the economic aid provided by the sale of bonds, especially in the U.S. and Canada.
Leo Bernstein, executive vice president of the IBO said the fall campaign would start during the High Holidays with a drive to raise $40 million in more than 1,000 Reform, Conservative and Orthodox synagogue in the U.S. and Canada. Bernstein reported that in the first eight months of this year $53,750 million in bonds were purchased by American banks, trade unions, insurance companies and communal institutions compared to $40.5 million purchased by them during all of 1970. Julian B. Venezky, national chairman for regions, reported that more than 200 Jewish communities in the U.S. and Canada would participate in drives to sell $85 million in bonds during Oct. and Nov. in honor of the 85th birthday of Israel’s former Premier David Ben Gurion.
DEFENSE COSTS CONTINUE TO CLIMB
Rabin told the delegates that the Israel Bond campaign had been a central instrument in the building and development of Israel’s economy. He said “with each new challenge over the years, Israel Bonds have supplied the economic power to keep us strong and thereby advance the day of a secure peace.” Alexandroni said that because of growing Soviet involvements in the Middle East crisis, there was no immediate prospect for any reduction in Israel’s defense expenditures.
He pointed out that defense costs in the year prior to the Six-Day War totalled 11 percent of Israel’s gross national product as compared with 31 percent during the past year. He noted that defense imports which amounted to $166 million in 1966, would reach a total of $855 million this year. The magnitude of the defense burden, he said, was largely responsible for Israel’s unfavorable trade balance involving an expected gap of $1.5 billion between imports and exports for this year. Rothberg reported that the proceeds from the worldwide sale of Israel Bonds in the first eight months of this year totalled $138,834,200. This figure represents an increase of 34.7 percent over the same period last year when a total of $103,097,500 was reached, he said.