Israel At Age 17
Israel in May 1965 saw many challenges. She looked about at her population of sad refugees living in an eroded and bleak land with hostile and threatening neighbors.
Long ago, it was prophesied that the desert would blossom like the rose, and the prophecy has been fulfilled.
The land had no lumber, so they imported timber from Africa and then proceeded to export plywood.
Devoid of diamond mines, she developed great centers of diamond polishing and exporting.
The surrounding Arab neighbors boycotted her, so Israel had to build a merchant marine which grew from 22,000 tons to over a million tons.
There was no water, so she built a huge national water carrier to irrigate the Negev. Her scientists developed desalination of sea water. So impressed was President Johnson, that he proposed a partnership of America and Israel in joint experiments in exploring the aid of nuclear energy in desalination.
Israel produced tires in the amount of about 15,000 tons in 1964, of which half were exported.
Israel was growing was more than 11% a year. She continued to deal with hostile neighbors, so prepared for the worst while developing the port of Ashdod, giving Israel its largest harbor.
They planned to develop the Negev with industry in the next decade.
Its Prime Minister Levi Eshkol said that while he was interested in the Arab-Israel peace plan proposed by Tunisia's President Bourguiba, he felt there was not much left for us to trade in his kind of peace plan. He went on to say that Israel paid in territory time and again and would not give up 1/3 of the territory for resettlement of the Arab refugees. Bourguiba wanted a readjustment of the boundaries and return of one million Arab refugees.
Golda Meir told that the Arab threat to divert the Jordan river was serious and that Israel cannot wait until the Arabs complete the diversion scheme. This river was the source of their life's blood.
USA sent Israel Hawk missles. Israeli crews to use them were trained in the states. Eshkol said that they would increase the Israeli army's deterrent force. Other branches of the army had to be strengthened.
Today, Israel has reached her 60th birthday, and still has the problem of hostile neighbors to deal with. Like a miracle, she has been able to continue her growth and development despite this handicap. To Life! L'chaim!
Reference: Portland Jewish Review, May 1965