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British Newspapers Criticize Government for Mufti’s Escape; Zionists Worried

Zionist circles here were seriously perturbed today over the news of the escape to Italy of the ex-Mufti of Jerusalem, while British newspapers published editorials criticising their government for permitting the ex-Mufti to escape from Iran.

The London press predicts that the ex-Mufti will now stir up “plenty of trouble” for England from Italy and Germany. Free French circles here declared today that they will not be surprised if the French government in Vichy takes the opportunity to make a friendly gesture to Italy by permitting the ex-Mufti to visit Morocco, Tunis, Algiers and other French-controlled territories in Northern Africa in order to induce the local Moslem dignitaries there to accept Vichy’s anti-Jewish laws which they have been opposing.

In Jewish circles apprehension is felt over the contact which the ex-Mufti may now be able to establish with his group in Palestine which remained without a leader after the Mufti’s disappearance from Iraq. Such contact can now be resumed through Moslem countries in French Africa, especially since the Rome radio today announced that Mussolini intends to arrange a tour for the ex-Mufti through North Africa to prove to the Moslem population there that Italy is ready to give utmost support to the “Arab cause” by supporting the ex-Mufti’s plans. Such a tour will also aggravate the already grave position of several hundred thousand Jews in French and Italian North-African colonies.

Pointing out that the ex-Mufti’s escape probably did not come as a surprise to the Palestine administration as well as to the British Colonial Office, the Manchester Guardian today in a bitter editorial wonders how the Colonial Office has been “successfully and successively” foxed by the ex-Mufti, permitting him to work in Syria and Iraq. “Since we never succeed in catching the Mufti, we had better continue to appease the Mufti’s friends as we have done so long with such a remarkable lack of success,” the Manchester Guardian comments sarcastically.

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