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Jewish Leaders End Hunger Strike Against Rumania on Fifth Day

Forty-two former Rumanian Jewish leaders today ended their hunger strike following appeals from Premier Moshe Sharett, Speaker of the Knesset Joseph Sprinzak and other Israeli leaders and on the basis of doctors’ orders. They were five days without food. A number of other strikers were forbidden by the doctors to fast beyond yesterday.

The fast was undertaken in an attempt to rivet world public opinion on the trial and imprisonment of a large number of Zionist and Jewish communal leaders in Rumania on charges engaging in Zionist activity. It is believed here that the strikers achieved their purpose to a large extent. They were therefore urged not to endanger their health and their lives any further.

A medical bulletin issued today before the fast ended said that all the strikers had shown signs of hunger and that their blood pressure had dropped seriously. This was not considered strange because of the advanced age of most of the strikers. Several required medical attention earlier today.

At the conclusion of the fast, the 42 issued the following statement: “We raise our voices for the release and subsequent immigration to Israel of the arrested leaders. For that we undertook fasting as a token of our solidarity with our brethren. Let our strike bring our deep pains into the open and to the world and to anybody who still has humanity and feeling in him. We are confident that the release of the arrested Jewish leaders and permitting them to go to Israel would not be against the interests of the regime.”

ISRAEL PREMIER HOPES NEWS OF STRIKE REACHED JEWS IN RUMANIA

Premier Sharett today visited the strikers and personally urged them to heed the appeal voiced in Parliament yesterday by Mr. Sprinzak. “With your hunger strike you have expressed spiritual solidarity with our arrested brethren who have been placed behind barbed wire only because of their loyalty to Zion,” the Premier told them. “News of your hunger strike has spread to all countries-in any event to those countries where any news can be made public. “

Mr. Sharett also expressed the hope that news of the fast had reached the imprisoned leaders in Rumania, adding that if it had it would encourage them. “We are fighting in front of and safeguarding any Jew anywhere in his rights to a Jewish life, for unbiased courts and for immigration to Israel, “he continued. “I express the government’s support for opening the gates of the prisons in which the Jewish leaders are and for permitting them to fulfill their desire to join us here.”

Mr. Sprinzak and Minister of Religion Moshe Shapira today visited the strikers and personally urged them to end their fast. Another visitor was Mrs. Rachel Ben Zvi, Israel’s First Lady, who told them that “in the President’s home as in every home in Israel there is anxiety over the fate of the Rumanian Zionists.” She said that she had thought that the Jewish dead in the world war would suffice as a sacrifice for immigration, but that apparently further sacrifices were needed.

BEN GURION SAYS ISRAEL WILL CONTINUE TO PROTEST

Two of the strikers visited David Ben Gurion yesterday at Sdek Boker as a delegation of the entire group. The former Premier gave them a letter for the group which was read aloud here at a mass meeting this afternoon called to support the strikers. Mr. Ben Gurion, who has been confined to his bed for the past three days, expressed regret over his inability to attend the meeting and protest against the imprisonment of Jews not only in Rumania but in other countries as well.

He said that in all these countries hundreds of Jews had been arrested “not for crimes” against the regimes but “because they remained loyal to the Jewish nation and its national redemption. “Theirs is a sin for which we are proud and for which we achieved our state, and which even received the support of the Soviet Union,” Mr. Ben Gurion added. “We shall not be silenced and we shall let this be heard by the whole world: ‘Don’t oppress my people, he stated.

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