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Palestine Government’s Replies to Questions of Jewish National Assembly

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency Mail Service)

The Palestine Government’s reply to the memorandum containing the resolutions of the second Jewish National Assembly in Palestine, tendered to Col. Symes by David Yellin, President of the Vaad Leumi, National Council of Palestine Jews, and Dr. J. Thon read:

Q.–The right of the Jewish population to receive its share from the Government’s budget for public services (education, health, etc.).

A.–The Government intends to increase its subvention to Hebrew schools provided they submit to additional Government supervision. In general the present Government system is to make all possible provision for services intended to benefit the whole population.

Q.–Proportional employment of Jewish laborers in public works at wages suitable to existence of educated workmen.

A.–When public works, in which taxpayers participate, are carried out there is no distinction of race or creed or unfair payment of labor. Nevertheless the Government promises facilities.

Q.–Legislation for protection of working men, women and youths.

A.–The Government realizes the necessity for such legislation, and a draft Ordinance, that it has drawn up, is being considered by the Colonial Secretary. A Standing Commission has been appointed to collect data and make suggestions for protection of women and children in industry. The Commission will in the future consult the General Jewish Labor Federation and other organizations in this matter.

Q.–Repeal of the tithe, reform of taxation and facilitation of development of industry and agriculture.

A.–The Government realizes the extent of opposition to the present form of tithe taxation and is desirous of introducing reforms in the whole taxation system. The arrivel of Sir Ernest Dowson is expected. He will aid the Government in the preparation of a plan of reforms, some of which may take years to carry out. The Government also realizes the necesity to aid such industries which can be developed in this country.

Q.–The allocation of waste and State lands for Jewish colonization on the intensive system, in accordance with the Mandate.

A.–The Government is obliged by the Mandate to give such support so far as it corresponds with justice and right. The Government proposes early agricultural reforms and aid intensive cultivation throughout the country.

Q.–Participation by the Jews in adequate proportion in the Civil Service and public security forces, and creation of conditions enabling such participation.

A.–See answer to Q. Z.

Q.–Removal of restrictions on Jewish immigration, and transfer of rights of the regulation of this immigration to the Jewish Agency.

A.–The Government has no intention to discontinue the present system, but in its control of immigration does not lose sight of Jewish demands in this connection.

Q.–Full rights of the Hebrew language in Government and Municipal offices.

A.–This matter is carried out so far as the financial and other considerations of the country permit.

Q.–Facilities of citizenship to Jewish residents, as prescribed by the Mandate.

A.–The Palestine Citizenship Order-in-Council has been published, and may be changed if experience of its operation requires.

Q.–Declaration of equality of rights of women in all branches of civil, political and economic life of Jewry, and a demand of the Government that such equality be provided for in the country’s laws.

A.–Noted for attention.

Q.–Demand for holding of graduation classes for youths and girls leaving school, before 14 years of age and that employers should extend to such workers certain hours of freedom to allow their attendance.

A.–It is doubtful whether the matter is one for legislation, but the Government will do all possible for its own young employees to enjoy such benefits.

Two other questions referred to the autonomy of Jewish schools and the rights of Jewish labor in public works, and were covered by answers to queries 1 and 2. To the third question, regarding railway and customs tariffs, the Government stated that transport rates were not excessive as compared with other countries, but promised its attention to the matter.

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