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5,000 Palestine Jews Enlisted in British Forces; Industry’s Aid Pledged

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With the Italian invasion of Greece bringing the war closer to the Near East, the Palestine Jewish population’s cooperation with the British cause, in the military and economic fields, was stressed today at a Jewish Agency press conference, a 20th anniversary rally of the Palestine Foundation Fund and the opening of a Jewish industrial exhibition in Tel Aviv.

Moshe Shertok, head of the Jewish Agency’s political department, reported at the press conference in Tel Aviv that 5,000 Jews had so far enlisted in the British forces, including 400 in fighting units. Relations between Jewish and Arab soldiers are good, he said. Arab-Jewish relations are steadily improving, Shertok said, and the Agency’s political department has taken steps for closer cooperation within the frame of general problems.

Clarification of the Palestine trade situation and the possibilities of raw materials for Palestine industry are expected to result from the Empire trade conference at New Delhi, he stated.

Immigration of Jews who received entry certificates under the previous schedule is under way, Shertok said. He revealed that Jewish women and children of Palestinian nationality had been released from internment in Germany, but said there were no reports on when they could arrive here.

At the Foundation Fund rally, Director Leib Jaffe stressed the fund’s part in the rebuilding of Palestine and salvation of the Jewish masses, “especially now when a storm rages at the world’s foundations.” He said the fund’s activities could not be measured in number or summed up in concrete achievements alone because it had laid the groundwork and fructified every field of life, draining marshes, dynamiting rocks, building villages, organizing immigration, building up Hebrew schools, caring for religious needs and simultaneously carrying “encouragement and Zion’s call to the diaspora through the fund’s emissaries.”

“Now the fund appeals to the diaspora not to abandon Palestine Jewry because the day will soon come when we can peacefully conclude the building of our own homeland,” he said.

In Tel Aviv, Jewish industry’s permanent exhibition was opened in the Jewish Industrial Association’s new building, with 250 items on display. Arieh Shenkar, head of the association, stressed the industrialists’ desire to offer the British Empire and Government all their energy and experience to achieve final victory.

“We are resolutely united in a firm determination to double our efforts and continue our work for the benefit of the Palestine population and His Majesty’s forces,” Shenkar asserted. “Our desire is based on the will to fulfill our duties to the Empire and our homeland.”

High Commissioner Sir Harold A. MacMichael expressed gratitude to Shenkar for his declaration, asserting that the moment was fit for industry’s development, for two reasons–to free the country from dependence on import and increase exports, and, secondly, to increase production for military needs.

Although the Palestine Government is unable to extend financial support, MacMichael said, nevertheless it will wholeheartedly assist industrial schemes and also a rapprochement between industrialists and workers, “as befits the moment.” Others present included high Government officials, the chief rabbis, Shertok and Mayor Israel Rokach of Tel Aviv.

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