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Legality of Jewish Agency’s Recruiting Activities Questioned by Military Official

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While Jews in Palestine are enlisting in greater numbers in the British military forces in order to be with the vanguard of the Allied troops that will destroy ghetto walls in liberated European cities, the president of the military tribunal which is conducting the “arms trial,” today indicated that military authorities do not like the fact that the recruitment of Jewish volunteers in Palestine is in the hands of recruiting offices of the Jewish Agency.

“In no country is any group allowed to conduct recruiting activities except the lawful government,” the president of the court declared during cross-examination by the prosecutor of one of the Jewish defendants, Leib Sirkin.

Major Baxter, the prosecutor, in cross-examining Sirkin, asked who supervises the recruitment of Jewish volunteers in the country. The defendant stated that the recruiting of these volunteers is supervised by the Jewish Agency.

Taking exception to the remark of the president of the court about the legality of the Agency’s recruitment activities, Dr. Philip Joseph, lawyer for the defense, emphasized that the Jewish Agency has recruited more than 25,000 Jewish men for the British forces. He dwelt on the internal relations in Palestine and advanced a number of arguments to prove that the Jewish Agency is fully within its rights in conducting the enlistment of Jews as volunteers in the British armed forces.

Moshe Shertok, head of the political department of the Jewish Agency, addressing the Zionist Actions Committee, which is now meeting here, emphasized the need to revive the demand for a strong Jewish force in view of the preparations of the Allied armies for a large scale offensive against Nazi Europe, and in view of the desire of the Jews to participate in this offensive.

Reporting on his recent visits to Egypt and Turkey, Shertok disclosed that he conferred with important English and Arab personalities on the question of the post-war status of Palestine. He also described the recent trends among the Arabs in Palestine and spoke of the efforts that have been made recently to contact Arab leaders. He strongly condemned the “panic-mongering American and British correspondents” in the Middle East for sending false reports on the situation in Palestine.

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