Jewish Refugees in Britain and Italy Will Be Permitted to Join Jewish Brigade
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Jewish Refugees in Britain and Italy Will Be Permitted to Join Jewish Brigade

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The announcement yesterday by the War Office that a Jewish brigade group is to be established climaxed four weeks of intensive negotiations between British military authorities and Zionist leaders, it was reliably learned here today. At least seven conferences were held, concluding with a meeting last Friday between War Minister Sir James Grigg and Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, and Moshe Shertok, the Agency’s political chief.

Although the brigade will be based mainly on the Palestinian units already in existence, some of these may not be included for various military reasons. At full strength the brigade group will consist of an infantry brigade plus artillery and supporting units such as the Royal Engineers, transport, signal and ordnance units and medical staff. The commander of the brigade group will probably be a Jewish officer of the British Army.

For the present recruitment will be open to certain categories of Jewish refugees in Britain, Italy and Mauritius. A limited number of Jews in the British Army may be permitted to transfer to the brigade if they so desire. It is understood that Mr. Shertok is going to Cairo to discuss with military authorities there the various problems connected with recruitment, and the tempo of recruiting in Palestine itself is expected to be heightened.


The Jewish Agency today issued a statement hailing the creation of the brigade group. “Jews throughout the world,” it said, “whether enslaved or free, welcome this announcement with great satisfaction. Entry of a Jewish fighting force into battle against the enemy of the Jewish people and mankind’s freedom will symbolize the status of Israel in the fight for a better world. Composition of the force will give concrete expression both to Jewish unity and to the central place which Palestine holds in Jewish life.”

Reviewing its efforts during the past five years to secure a Jewish fighting force, and the fact that millions of Jews are fighting in the armies of the United Nations, the Agency statement declares that “formation of the Jewish brigade group comes at a late stage in the war. It is an acknowledgement of services rendered and takes into account the Jewish desire for national recognition. May it be given to the Jewish brigade group to carry the Star of David in pride into the lands where it was used as a badge of shame, and to bring to the Jewish survivors of horror a message of hope from Zion.”


The creation of the Jewish brigade, the Times writes today, is “an acknowledgement of the fine response of Jews in Palestine to the call for volunteers, as well as the multitude of Jews in the armies of the United Nations. It is also a symbolic recognition of the struggle of a community which has suffered more horribly than any other from a calculated barbarity unexampled in Europe. The Star of David blue-white flash of the Brigade will mean much to the men who wear these emblems of a great tradition, but they will mean even more to the survivors of massacres and deportations who have endured crueller dispersion than ever Nebuchadnezzar devised, and more ruthless persecution than ever Torquemada planned.”

The Manchester Guardian, which has consistently supported the demand for a Jewish fighting force, points out that although small in numbers the Brigade will have a great significance for the Jewish people. Attacking the “political stupidity” which has led to mishandling of the Palestine question, the Guardian expresses the hope that “the Jewish brigade may still prove to the world that Jews need not always be hunted and persecuted, but can be soldiers at the front of a great winning cause.”

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