NEW YORK (Dec. 20)
The 59 striking Israel seamen who tied up two Israeli ships in New York and Baltimore and were interned on Ellis Island were deported today from the United States to Israel on the Greek vessel Nea Hellas. Their ships–the Yafo and the Haifa–sailed from the ports of New York and Baltimore, respectively, manned by other crews.
Dr. Joseph Burstin, representative of the Histadrut in the United States, told a press conference here today that the Federation of Labor in Israel is opposed to the demands by the striking Israel seamen who are seeking the right to declare strikes in foreign ports and request autonomy for their employment bureaus. Dr. Burstin emphasized that Israel cannot permit the seamen to strike while in foreign ports since this might paralyze normal traffic between the Jewish state and the outside world.
The representative of the Histadrut pointed out that Israel is surrounded by enemies on land and that its only contact with the outside world is by sea. Israel’s entire import and export trade would be exposed to sabotage by irresponsible elements if Israeli seamen were permitted to strike in foreign ports, he emphasized.
With regard to the autonomy of the labor exchange offices established by the striking seamen’s union, Dr. Burstin explained that employment in Israel is regulated by the labor exchange offices there in which all labor groups, as well as the Israel Government, are represented. “This guarantees an impartial division of labor,” he said. He expressed the hope that the seamen’s strike will soon come to an end.