MARCH 26, 1955
TEL AVIV, Israel—After visiting the Youth Aliyah Training Institution of Pardessiya last Sunday, we went to see the settlement of cave dwellers from North Africa. Mrs. Ruth Dayan, wife of the commander-in-chief of the Israel Army, has worked with these cave dewllers, whose women occupy themselves with the weaving of rugs. Two of these women were in the United States last spring to show their ability and their wares.
These people used to make their caves underground, and much preferred living underground because they say the temperature is always the same and that their people are healthier for that reason. Also, they say, they were better protected from thieves and any other type of enemy. They could find no soil suitable for underground caves here, however, and they have decided to live on the surface.
This is a prosperous village. It was established five years ago for 120 families. Each family has six acres of its own, plus owning in common 250 acres of orange groves and 250 acres of avocado groves. Most of the families are large, each having from eight to 10 children, and since education is compulsory they go to school until they are 14 years old. After that, most of the youngsters go to work to help support their families.
Most of these former cave-dwelling families have built their present homes with government loans, and they also are being given loans to buy additional land and to acquire livestock. They are not required to begin to amortize these loans for 25 years, but they may start to pay back sooner than that if they wish.
While they are waiting for their orchards to become productive, the women's weaving is the most important income producer, and this money is needed by them to live on.
The house we visited was clean and had running water and a marble sink, but, of course, none of these houses have any screens and there are a great many flies. The head man of the village is largely responsible for the success which his village is making, and we had the pleasure of meeting him. He is a tall, calm and even-tempered man who seems to have much wisdom. He speaks Arabic, Italian, and Hebrew, and he could get a very good job in the city but he prefers to stay with his people in the village.
Mrs. Dayan, who is in charge of all home industries for the Ministry of Labor, has made it her business to know everyone in every village where she works.
Later in the day we visited a most interesting paper mill in Hadera, which was the first of the new industrial enterprises I had seen. In driving from Jerusalem we also passed a big, new cement plant, and I was told that there is a modern chemical plant in Haifa as well as a Kaiser-Fraser factory which is quite large.
The paper mill, however, was the first of the industrial plants that we went through. It was made possible by investments made by other paper manufacturers in other parts of the world. Incidentally, I learned that one of the investors is the Hudson Paper and Pulp Company of Hudson, New York, my own home state.
At home the Hudson Company makes paper towels and paper napkins. The paper mill here indulges in no such luxuries. Paper is too costly and too precious. They need it here for printing newspapers, magazines, books and wrapping paper. They say here that their women can still wash towels and napkins and they look upon using paper for these purposes as pure extravagance. Someday, however, they may find new materials that will bring down the cost of making paper sufficiently to allow them to indulge in making some of the luxury items we enjoy in the United States.
(Distributed by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)