Start Building of Air-raid Shelters in Jerusalem; Palestine Jews Rallied to Defense

Measures for security against air raids in the holy city of Jerusalem were started for the first time today.

Construction of shelters for 12,000 persons was launched. Shelters for 4,000 persons will be located on the main streets and for another 5,000 in market places. The District Commissioner ordered that window glass be protected against breakage, especially in public places.

It is generally believed that Jerusalem, sacred to three faiths, will be spared in any attack on Palestine, but the authorities are taking no chances.

A meeting of the Vaad Leumi (Jewish National Council), with representatives of local councils attending, heard appeals to await the days of possible danger and meet them in a way befitting a Jewish community which would remain in the country and hold its positions under all circumstances.

Isaac Ben-Zvi, chairman of the council, and Moshe Shertok, head of the Jewish Agency’s political department, called for an increase in military volunteering, strengthening of inner discipline, maintenance of calm and combating of rumors. Both speakers stressed the Jewish community’s desire to assist in defense of Palestine, to lend its shoulder to the British war effort and aid in internal defense.

Palestine volunteers in the Royal Air Force proved to be of “exceptional value” in operations in the western desert, according to a statement by the RAF press officer, reported here today. The volunteers justly acquired the reputation of being hard and willing workers, he said, and even under the most difficult conditions they were found to be rendering splendid service in all desert stations of the RAF.

The volunteers came mostly from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jaffa, the press officer said. A “Jewish padre” often visits outlying desert stations to make contact with Palestinians of the Jewish faith, he added.

Meanwhile, a young Jewish air craftsman returned to Jerusalem on a brief leave reported that many Palestinians had been in Greece, serving with the RAF, Royal Engineers, Service Corps and Pioneer Corps. He declared several hundred Palestinians were among the last RAF men who left Greece after successfully covering the retreat and engaging in the final fighting during the days of evacuation.

He praised the Palestinians in the Pioneer Corps who, harassed by bombings and frequently machine-gunned, carried out all their duties and escaped without causalities.

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