NavonPresident Yitzhak Navon deplored the low Jewish birth rate in the diaspora and told a group of visiting leaders of the Israel Bond Organization that it was only marginally better in Israel.

Navon addressed 200 Bond leaders from the U.S. and Canada at a dinner marking the close of their five day mission to Israel in connection with the projected Mediterranean-Dead Sea Canal. Fifty of them announced they would each purchase a minimum of $100,000 in Israel Bonds, thus making them canal “founders.” The Bond Organization has set a target of 1000 such “founders.”

Navon said the present trend of Jewish families in the diaspora to have no more than two children must be changed. He lamented the disappearance of “the traditional Jewish family,” even in Israel. He said the proper reaction after the Holocaust should have been for Jewish families to have larger numbers of children.

Over the weekend the Bond delegates were briefed by Defense Minister Ariel Sharon who told them that the government’s settlement plan for the West Bank, initiated four years ago, has “changed the security situation for the State of Israel in the present time and for the future.” He added- “Since the establishment of the State over 30 years ago, and going back almost 100 years, settlements have been a very important factor in the national security system of the Jewish state.”