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Israeli Official Maintains Jewish State Has Right to Try Britons for Espionage

An Israeli Government spokesman tonight disputed British Government contentions that the Israeli authorities had no legal right to place on trial here five British subjects seized by the Irgun Zvai Leumi and turned over to the Israeli authorities on charges of having acted as spies for the Arab states in Jerusalem.

(Foreign Under-Secretary Christopher P. Mayhew told the House of Commons yesterday that Britain was demanding the return of the five men to the United Nations Truce Commission and said that the “British Government cannot recognize the right of any Palestinian Jewish court, civil or military, to try British subjects.”)

The Israeli spokesman commented: “I am told that there has been some change in this country’s regime since May 15. We most, assuredly have the right to try foreign subjects for crimes committed on our territory just as Britain may try foreign subjects.”

The Israeli authorities moved today on a long-range program to integrate the Arab population that will remain in the new Jewish state. Behor Shitrect, Minister for National Minorities, announced that schools for Arab children will be organized immediately in Jaffa and Haifa end that the government is preparing a scheme of cooperative workshop settlements for Arabs. The authorities will also commence publication of an Arabic bulletin.

The cabinet officer announced the establishment of five new departments in his ministry to cope with minority problems in the new state. The Arab Affaire Department, according to the announcement, is being given wide scope for establishment of good relations with the Arab communities to develop self-government for them and promote democratic institutions.

Full religious freedom for all sects throughout Israel was pledged today by Rabbi Judah L. Fishman, Minister for Religious Affaire, when he visited Nazareth. Rabbi Fishman met Greek Orthodox, Marenite and Franciscan representatives and the Moslem Mufti in the town, which he visited in the company of Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog, to supervise military arrangements for protection of Christian and Moslem shrines there.

The Israeli representative told the Christian and Moslem officials that there would be full religious freedom for all in Israel. He said that he was establishing Christian and Moslem departments in his ministry to attend to the special requirements of both religions.

The Government of Israel today issued its first passport to an Arab national of the state. It went to an Arab citrus plantation owner now in London, to enable him to return here to organize Arab citrus exports as part of Israel’s citrus program for next season.

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