Jerusalem Jews Urged to Remain Calm in Face of “approaching Grave Situation”
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Jerusalem Jews Urged to Remain Calm in Face of “approaching Grave Situation”

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In anticipation of drastic developments following the ultimatum handed to the Jewish Agency yesterday by the Palestine Government, the Jewish Community Council today issued an appeal to the Jews here to remain calm “in the face of the approaching grave situation” and to avoid hoarding supplies or “starting panics.”

The call was issued following appeals by Jewish leaders here and in Tel Aviv asking the British and Palestine Governments to reconsider their actions. At the same time, the Jewish Agency today denied the charge in yesterday’s British ultimatum that the resolutions against terrorism adopted by the Jewish National Council and other Jewish authorities were insincere and merely “purported” to condemn bloodshed.

An Agency spokesman told a press conference this morning that “there is no warrant whatsoever for this implied charge of insincerity. The government should be fully aware of how strongly the Agency and the Vaad Leumi condemn bloodshed.”

The spokesman said that the letter received yesterday from the government had been communicated to members of the executive in London, Washington and New York and that a reply will be sent in due course. “The executive, therefore, does not propose at this stage to enter into the very grave matters contained in the letter,” he added.


Speaking at a public gathering last night, Goldie Meirson, head of the political department of the Jewish Agency in Palestine, declared that “we will enter the new situation not broken-hearted, but with the same spirit of self-confidence, quietude and decision as we had before.” She warned that “the Yishuv, which is essentially constructive and creative, will not yield to the demand to do things against its conscience, even if compelled to do so by force.”

Mayor Israel Rokach of Tel Aviv, who has been participating in the urgent meetings of the Agency executive, added his voice to the appeal to Britain to refrain from using force. He stressed that there was no necessity to evacuate British women and children, since “the Yishuv will guard them.”

Posters demanding “Thou Shalt Not Kill” appeared in the streets today and speakers attacked terrorism in brief addresses to street-corner gatherings. In Tel Aviv, the office of the Hashomer Hatzair, which has vigorously attacked the extremists, was raided last night.


Meanwhile, the government has begun herding civilians from all parts of Palestine to the Sarafand Army Base between Lydda and Tel Aviv in preparation for evacuation. Police posts have been established every mile along the winding road from Jerusalem to Sarafand. Reports from Beirut say that 70 British women and children have already arrived in Lebanon to take up temporary haven. Others are expected tomorrow.

In Jerusalem a delegation of “displaced” tenants and home owners, who have been dispossessed from their homes within the security area set up for essential civilians who will remain, visited the district commissioner and demanded adequate new quarters into which they can move. The results of the interview were unsatisfactory, each family being offered one room in a girls’ dormitory.

Dov Gruner’s lawyer, Asher Lewitzky, today sent a cable to the Privy Council on his own behalf, despite Gruner’s refusal to sign. He was authorized to do so by the Palestine Supreme Court. Unofficial reports said that Gruner would not be hanged until his sister, Mrs. Helen Friedman, had arrived from the United States and had had an opportunity to plead with him to appeal. She sent him a cable yesterday stating: “Dov, you are killing all my efforts. Please, if you love me, sign the appeal.” Chief Rabbie Herzog and Uziel were scheduled to see Gruner again this afternoon.

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