Jerusalem (Dec. 3)
The Inquiry Commission yesterday sat in the Moslem Religious Court and heard the Grand Mufti’s evidence in connection with the August riots. While the sitting was not public it was not secret for counsel was present. As soon as the Arab case has been completed, which is expected within a few days after the Mufti’s testimony has been finished, the Zionists will present their side.
Since Sir Boyd Merriman’s questioning of the Mufti is expected to take up more time than either the Mufti’s giving of evidence or the cross-examination of Preedy, government counsel the Commission is likely to remain in camera all day today.
It is understood here that the Zionist case aims to show that if the Mufti is personally not guilty of actual incitement of his followers he is nevertheless responsible since he did not check the members of the Moslem Supreme Council from agitating and circulating throughout the country the charge that the Jews had designs on the Mosque, as was evidenced from the testimony of Hammad and Khadrah. The constant incitement of the Arab paper “Jamaieh El Arabia,” including its reproduction of the doctored photographs of the Mizrachs is also the Mufti’s responsibility, the Zionists contend.
It is still undecided whether the evidence of Harry Sacher and Col. Kisch of the Zionist Executive will be taken in public, but the testimony of Smiliansky and Zemach of the Zionists’ experimental station as well as other agricultural experts who refute the Arab allegations will be public.
The Hebrew press, too, is gratified beyond words with Sir Boyd Merriman’s conduct in the case. While no Zionist member of the Jewish Agency’s council will intervene it is understood that Viscount Erleigh will relieve Merriman of the task of examining the chief Jewish witnesses since Merriman lid the hardest job in cross-examining the government and Arab witnesses.
Chief Rabbi Kook has not yet decided whether he will avail himself of the privilege of testifying privately in his house as the Mufti did or waive the option and take the stand in public. The Jewish counsel are anxious that Rabbi Kook’s evidence be given in public since they feel that the effect of his generous spirit would be greater than the Mufti’s exploitation of an outworn tradition in standing on his dignity, which has made many Britishers here see in it a gross indignity to the Parliamentary Commission.