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Lands Abandoned by Arabs in Israel Turned over to Jews for Cultivation

November 14, 1948
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Some 450,000 dunams (112,500 acres) of land abandoned by Arabs fleeing Palestine have already been turned over to Jews for cultivation, Agriculture Minister Aaron Zisling today a press conference here, Half the lend has been sown in winter crops and half in summer crops, Zisling said.

The cultivation of so much new land was made possible by the Treasury’s guarantee to the Angle-Palestine Bank, on the strength of which the bank lent some $1,600,000 to farmers and settlement groups. He announced plans were under discussion to establish a $4,000,000 fund to aid farmers.

He also revealed that two shipping experts have been sent abroad to purchase fishing trawlers, There are plans in existence to build a major fishing port at the town of Caesaria, south of Haifa, he stated. The output of the fishing industry on Lake Tiberias is being increased by the stocking of the lakes with 50,000 young carp.

The exportable citrus crop this year will amount to about 6,000,000 cases, Zisling estimated, Sales contracts have already been signed with Britain, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, Ireland and Norway, while negotiations are in progress with Halland, Prance and Poland.

C. Halperin, director of the Ministry, who was also present at the press conference, disclosed a decision of the Ministry to allocate 95 percent of the country’s arable lands to agricultural settlements. He estimated that the country’s resources were sufficient to water 8,000,000 dunams (2,000,000 acres) which could provide food for 15,000,000 people. At present, he pointed out, only 200,000 dunams are irrigated and there is an immediate need for 1,000,000 more in order to supply the present population with food without having to import any of it.


A total of 70,000 Arabs and other non-Jews are living in Israel and in 520 Israeli-occupied Arab villages, it was announced here today by Minister for Minorities Behor Shitreet. The figure includes some 15,000 Bedouins living in the Nedev, but does not take into account the Arabs living in Israeli-held Lebanese territory.

The predominant majority of the non-Jews noted in this survey, the announcement said, are Moslems. Other groups represented are Christians, Druzes and Circassians. Health services have been opened for the Arabs, while in Nazareth and Jaffa more than 2,000 Arab children are attending special schools set up by the Israel Government.

The first unofficial figures on the Israeli Government’s population census for Jerusalem became known today. The poll reports that there are more than 80,000 Jews living in the Jewish-held part of the city as compared with 1,500 non-Jews, including members or the consular corps and the United Nations observers and their staffs. Only two persons in Jerusalem refused to sign the census documents on religious grounds, while only two Jews replied to the census-taker’s question on religion that they were of “no religion.”

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