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Between the Lines

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The question of public security in Palestine, which will be taken up by the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations according to a report from Geneva yesterday, is one of the most serious problems interesting Palestine Jewry.

It is no secret that the police force in Palestine now has practically no Jews on it. The meagre salary paid to a policeman in Palestine at a time when the standard of living rises from week to week compels Jewish policemen to leave the force and to seek other work. This is not difficult to find now, at a time when there is no unemployment in Palestine.

The number of Jews on the Palestine police force has dwindled during the last year to a negligible proportion. It is still in the process of declining. According to the latest figures, sixty-five percent of the local police force in Palestine are Arabs.


While the Jewish policemen are on the same scale of wages as the Arabs, the Palestine government finds it important, however, to pay British policemen in Palestine a salary five times greater than is paid the Jewish policemen. Thus the average British police officer in Palestine receives a salary of about a hundred and fifty dollars a month, as compared with the thirty dollars a month received by the average Jewish or Arab policeman.

This sharp differentiation in salaries is something in which the Mandates Commission should take an interest. Since the budget for maintaining the local police force in Palestine is covered fully from local income, there is hardly any reason why Jewish and Arab policemen should be paid less than British policemen.


The system of underpaying the local police force and of paying higher salaries to the British has created a situation whereby the number of British policemen in the All-Jewish city of Tel Aviv equals the number of Jewish policemen there. As a result, the Jewish policeman in Tel Aviv is compelled to adapt himself to the British attitude. Thus, instead of filling out their police reports in Hebrew, as was done recently, Jewish policemen in Tel Aviv must now submit their reports in English.

The economic situation of the Jewish policeman in Palestine has long been a matter of discussion in the Palestine press. It has been pointed out that while, from the standpoint of security, the Jews would like to see more Jews in the Palestine police force, there is no hope of attracting them to the force so long as a policeman’s salary is below the minimum required by the present standard of living.


The problem of Jewish security is serious, since public security of the country is left almost entirely in the hands of the Arabs and the British. The Mandates Commission of the League of Nations could help solve this problem of security in Palestine by recommending that the Palestine Administration guarantee members of the local police force a decent living wage. There is no reason why a British policeman should receive five times as much as a local policeman when the salaries of both come from the same source.

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