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Protest Demonstrations Continue in Palestine over Death of Strume Refugees

Jewish institutions throughout Palestine, including the municipality of Tel Aviv, are flying the Jewish national flag at halfmast, draped in black, as expression of the Yishuv’s mourning over the tragic death of more than 750 Jewish refugees from Rumania who were drowned in the waters of the Black Sea last week when the Strume, in which they were being returned to Rumania after having been refused admission into Palestine, exploded and sank.

Only two of the passengers on the Strume were saved and are now in a hospital in Turkey, according to information reaching here from Ankara. The Chief Rabbinate of Palestine today visited the Palestine authorities and submitted a protest over the refusal of the administration to admit the refugees into Palestine under the immigration quota, charging the Palestine Government with the responsibility for the death of the victims.

The Jewish National Council of Palestine, the Tel Aviv municipal council, and other leading Jewish institutions in the country yesterday proclaimed a country-wide work stoppage in all enterprises except those engaged in war industries. The stoppage was carried out as a peaceful demonstration against the Palestine administration for refusing haven to the Jewish refugees who were entitled to enter the country under the labor schedule.

TRAFFIC SUSPENDED IN SIX-HOUR PROTEST DEMONSTRATIONS; THEATRES CLOSED

Urban and inter-urban traffic in Palestine was suspended yesterday for six hours when the Jews of Palestine proclaimed a self-imposed curfew which lasted until 7 P.M. All Jewish places of entertainment are closed in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. Peaceful street demonstrations continue to take place in Tel Aviv.

The municipality of Tel Aviv issued a proclamation calling upon the population of the all-Jewish city to mourn the death of the Jewish refugees. Similar proclamations were also issued by Jewish institutions in other cities in Palestine. Some of the proclamations called for a general strike and demanded a change in the Palestine administration as the agency responsible for the Strume disaster. Other proclamations called for the return of the Jewish refugees who are interned on the island of Mauritius for the duration of the war after being deported from Palestine as ”illegal entrants.” In making this demand, the proclamations asked that the Jewish internees be returned to Palestine ”before they are menaced by Japanese aggression against Mauritius.”

At a special mourning session of the Tel Aviv municipal council, Mayor Rokach eulogizing the Strume victims, said: ”Let the Strume tragedy be another symbol in the long Jewish martyrdom. Our foes are murdering us on one side, while the other side is lending a deaf ear to those who are trying to reach the shores of Palestine.” The Tel Aviv municipality published a special leaflet in English addressed “To All Allied Troops in the City” explaining why all entertainment and amusement places were ordered closed by the municipal administration.

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