Jerusalem (May. 22)
Aeroplanes hovered over Jerusalem and other large centers of population such as Tel Aviv and Haifa today when promptly at twelve o’clock the Jews in every part of the country, heeding the call of the Jewish National Council, the Zionist Executive and the Chief Rabbinate for a general strike, laid down their tools, deserted shops and offices and farms and factories.
The streets of Jerusalem were thronged with homegoing Jewish crowds responding unanimously to the call of protest against the suspension of immigration. The general strike was completely effective. Also Arabs employed by Jews ceased work promptly at noon.
Few Arabs or policemen were in sight. British constables were posted as guards at all public buildings.
AGUDATH ISRAEL JOINS
At the last minute the Agudath Israel, Jewish Orthodox world organization, which had originally opposed the strike, joined in it. Posters of the Agudath calling on Orthodox Jewry to join the rest of the Jewish community were hastily placarded throughout the city but the latter visited him today at the government house. Sir John will meet representatives of all groups tomorrow. He plans extensive visits over the country but unlike the Shaw Commission will not hear evidence.
VAAD HAIR ISSUES PROCLAMATION
A proclamation issued today by the Vaad Hair, Jewish municipal council, declared “today’s stoppage serves as an energetic expression before the entire civilized world of our pain and humiliation, to mobilize our nation’s forces and to redouble the peaceful effort while waging the battle against the denial of the Jewish people’s elementary right to immigrate to Palestine.”
While the Jewish populace has walked out on a general strike the Hebrew press urges the mobilization of all Jewish forces in the hour of trial. The “Ha’Aretz” declares “the Jews are not a negligible factor in the world. Let the national will be mobilized in Palestine and the national forces outside. We must win through”.
The “Doar Hayom” exclaims: “We shall defend ourselves. We have no other Jewish homeland.” The “Davar,” commenting on the last announcement of the government says: “Great Britain made a treaty with Arab despots for the preservation of Britain and their rule at the expense of the Jewish masses of the world and the Arab masses of the world and the Arab masses of Palestine. This cannot stand. We do not know how to break this pact but we know we must break it or lose our birthright”.
The Arab press differs on the implications of the immigration suspension. The “Meraat Al Shark” is surprised that the Jews “are making so much noise for such a little thing”. The paper declared that the Jews “are crying before they are hurt. What will they say if the government entirely prohibits immigration. Meanwhile we Arabs see the country going from us. Allah save us!”
The “Falastin” describes the immigration stoppage as “the destruction of the Jewish hopes of building a Jewish national home. The Zionists realize that their hopes are blighted with the cessation of immigration”.