Palestine Government Arrests Three Jewish Mayors; Many Revisionist Leaders Detained
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Palestine Government Arrests Three Jewish Mayors; Many Revisionist Leaders Detained

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Swooping down at dawn today in a gigantic drag##t operation Palestine police forces arrested the mayors of Tel Aviv and two other Jewish cities, many leading Revisionists and Jewish leaders throughout the country, ## what an official communique described as “part of the security forces’ campaign against terrorism.”

Jewish sources estimated that the number of persons held reached 200, but an official count placed the figure at 35. Besides Mayor Israel Rokach of Tel Aviv, the principal heads arrested were Oved Ben Ami of Nathanya and Abraham Krinitzy of Ramath ##n. After a short period of questioning in the police stations of the cities or ##ns where they were arrested, all the detainees were taken to Latrun detention camp ##”; directly opposite the area where Jewish Agency leaders were imprisoned after their arrest last June.

The official government statement announcing the operation said that all the prisoners were being held under the Emergency Defense Regulations and that “the military authorities are satisfied that in each case grounds exist for the detentions.”


Other restrictive measures included the outlawing of the Revisionist youth organization Brith Trumpeldor, which the government said was “a recruiting ground for president groups.” In addition, the order declared the property of the organization, also known as Betar, liable to confiscation. Among its assets are a number of valuable {SPAN}##{/SPAN} such as the Tel Hai fund which raised considerable monies in Palestine and abroad, {SPAN}##{/SPAN} several agricultural settlements including Ramath Tiomkin and Tel Zur.

All Jews are forbidden to leave the country until the operation is completed, and heavily-reinforced guard units were placed in all ports and airdromes. Soldiers not an duty were restricted to barracks, apparently because the authorities feared that they would be targets for reprisal attacks.


Early this afternoon, a few hours after the country at large had learned of the police raids, Jerusalem was shaken by a terrific explosion which wrecked the Labor department building, killing three British constables who were attempting to remove the bomb. Two members of the Irgun placed the explosives in the building and then {SPAN}##ietly{/SPAN} walked into the office of the chief clerk and told him to evacuate the building because an explosion was due within a few minutes.

The clerk rang an alarm bell, emptying the building, and then ran outside ## he hailed a passing police patrol. They entered the building to try to dismantle ##. While they were tinkering with it, it went off, blowing one policeman to


The dusk-to-dawn curfew in Jerusalem, which had been lifted at noon today, after being in effect for 16 days, was immediately reimposed. Ironically, the military commander’s note to the Jerusalem Jewish Council announcing the lifting of the {SPAN}##{/SPAN} said that he hoped the security situation would justify this step.

Among the Revisionist leaders gathered in by the police dragnet were Dr. Arieh ##ltman, president of the party, who was scheduled to depart for the United States tomorrow; Eizik Remba, editor of the party’s organ Hamashkif; Dr. Arieh Prosek, head of its National Labor Organization; and the entire membership of the council of the settlement of Ramath Tiomkin, northeast of Tel Aviv in the Tulkarm district.Also, Dr. Abraham Weinshal, Revisionist leader in Haifa; Dr. Moshe Cohen, member of the Tel Aviv municipal council; Ahron Bader, member of the party’s central committee; Max Kritzman, an attorney who regularly defends arrested extremists; and Dr. Wolfgang von Weisl, prominent figure in Revisionist circles for many years, who was arrested with Jewish Agency leaders last year and was released only after he went on a 16-day hunger strike in prison. David Stern, brother of Abraham Stern, late organizer and leader of the Stern Group, was also arrested.


The Palestine radio, quoting official sources, tonight announced that Mayor Rokach had suffered a heart attack following his arrest. The radio maintained that he was under house arrest, but his wife denied it, asserting that the police had whisked him off and would give her no information about him. His home was searched at the same time he was detained.

Mayor Ben Ami, whose home was also ransacked, upon hearing the order for his detention, remarked to the policemen: “This is the thanks I get for cooperating with the British for 20 years.”


Leaders of the Jewish Agency and of the Jewish National Council today held an urgent meeting at which they discussed the sudden action of the Palestine Government. They decided to convoke an emergency session of the Jewish National Assembly which is the parliament of Palestine Jewry.

Commenting on today’s sweeping seizures, a Jewish Agency spokesman pointed out that some of those arrested were signatories to a statement released Friday which promised to “combat terrorism, and which resulted in some form of a united anti-terrorist front,” but now that some of the most prominent signatories are under arrest, that “front is obviously shattered almost to the breaking point,” he said.

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