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R of First Jewish Self-defense Group in Palestine Honored by Arabs and Jews

In the midst of reports of increasing tension between Jews and Arabs in Palestine, hundreds of both people gathered here today to celebrate the 75th birthday of Abraham Shapiro, one of the founders of this town and the man who established the first Jewish self-defense organization in Palestine.

Shapiro, who came to Palestine from Bessarabia when he was nine years old, is leved by Jews and Arabs alike. He gained fame in his youth when he broke up several bands of marauding Arabs who were terrorizing both Jews and Arabs, and frequently was called upon to act as an arbitrator between various Arab tribes and individuals. Some years ago he was adopted as a sheikh by one of the tribes.

Today’s celebration began when a mixed group of Arab and Jewish horsemen accompanied Shapiro to the synagogue where prayers were recited for his continued good health. Later at a reception at his home prominent sheikhs from all parts of the country sat around sipping coffee and smoking. A luncheon attended by hundreds of guests beard Arab and Jewish spokesmen praise Shapiro for bettering relations between the two peoples and express the hope that they would continue to live together in peace.

The celebration concluded with a brilliant display of horsemanship by Jews and Arabs, who joined in dancing the “Fantasia,” a traditional dance which is performed on horseback to the accompaniment of gunfire.

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