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Israel Becoming Economically Independent, Ben Gurion Says

September 17, 1951
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Asserting that Israel is slowly moving towards economic independence and gradually becoming the largest industrial center in the Middle East, Premier David Ben Gurion today officially opened the new Petach Tikvah plant of the General Tire Company of Akron, Ohio. Built through the joint efforts of the American firm and Israeli businessmen, the plant is expected to turn out 2,500 tons of rubber tires and tubes annually, making Israel self-sufficient in these commodities. The occasion marked the opening of Israeli Industrial Week.

The Premier noted that it was the second large-scale industrial enterprise in Israel made possible through the co-operation of U.S. industrialists. The first was the Kaiser-Frazer plant at Haifa.

The new plant will begin production around April or May of next year. In addition to providing Israel with all its tube and tire needs, 20 percent of its production will be exported. The subscribed capitalization of the plant, 1,000,000 Israel pounds ($2,800,000), includes $250,000 invested by three American groups; The General Tire and Rubber Company, the Palestine Economic Corporation and a group of Jewish investors known as the “Shalom Group.”

Stressing that the new enterprise will save Israel some $3,000,000 in foreign currency annually, Premier Ben Gurion said that when the plant starts production it will render Israel not only independent of foreign tire purchases, but will also safeguard the country’s road transportation in peacetime while feeding the Army’s needs in wartime, thereby contributing immensely to Israel’s security.

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