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British Government Issues White Paper on Wailing Wall

November 30, 1928
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

–Asserting that the status quo, as established under the Turkish regime, was infringed by the Jewish worshippers at the Jewish Holy Site on September 24, the Day of Atonement, the White Paper of the British Government concerning the Wailing Wall incident, made public today, contains a statement of the facts and a declaration that the administration of Palestine intends to maintam the established Jewish right of access to the Holy Site.

The White Paper, written by Col. Leopold H. Amery, Secretary of State for the Colonies, refers to the communique of the Palestine Government dated the 26th of September and explains that the intervention of the police was caused, as the Jewish action constituted an infraction of the status quo of the Wall. The paper further explains the Jewish rights to the Wall during the Turkish regime, underlining the ruling of 1912 prohibiting Jews to erect a screen on the wall pavement. The White Paper emphasizes this year’s innovations at the Wall on Yom Kippur were made the cause of the complaints of the Mufti in charge of the Wakf (Moslem religious property) to the Palestine Government necessitating immediate action, according to the practice not to create precedent contradictory to the status quo the Palestine government is obliged to maintain under the terms of the mandate.

Concerning the complaint that no Jew was among the police executing the order, this happened because, upon the urgent request of the Chief Rabbinate, all Jewish policemen had been released from service for the Yom Kippur holiday. In future, steps will be taken insuring a Jewish officer’s presence at the Wall on all such occasions. The further complaint that the Palestine government should have consulted Jewish authorities before taking action, is not substantiated, because if the infringement of the status quo was committed with the knowledge of these authorities, they were aware of the possible consequences from the experience on Yom Kippur, 1925. If, however, the Jewish authorities were ignorant of the innovations introduced, they cannot reasonably expect the Palestine government’s countenancing the unauthorized act of subordinates.

The British Government regards it as their duty and have the intention to maintain the established Jewish right of access to the pavement in front of the Wall for the purposes of devotion. They are also entitled to bring appurtenances as permitted under the Turkish regime. It is inconsistent, however, with the duties of the Mandate, to endeavor to compel the Moslem owners to accord extended privileges.

The chances are also lessened for a mutual arrangement between Jews and Moslems because public opinion in Palestine has removed the incident from the religious orbit into a political and racial question, which has intensified the difficulties. Nevertheless, the Palestine Government has approached the Zionist Executive, as well as the Moslem Council, suggesting that they agree on a mutual protocol regulating the conduct of services in a manner satisfactory to the normal liturgical requirements without prejudice to the legal rights of the Moslems. In this connection the government has also instructed the senior officer to feel out the ground with both parties as to whether an arrangement is possible which, if achieved, the British Government would cordially welcome as preventing a recurrence of the unfortunate incident, the White Paper declared.


Emanuel Nemnann, one of the organizers of the Palestine Foundation Fund in 1921, was elected Chairman of the Jewish National Gund, the American branch of the Jewish land buying agency in Palestine, at the last meeting of the Board of Directors of the Fund, according to announcement made by I. H. Rubin, secretary.

The new chairman succeeds the late Joseph Barondess, and has been prominent in Zionist activities for the last fifteen years. He was among the organizers of Young Judaea. Mr. Nemnana became Secretary of the Palestine Foundation Fund on its establishment in 1921 and held that post for four years. It was due in large measure to his initiative that the United Palestine Appeal, the American fund-raising agency for Palestine, now in its fourth year, was organized.

Mr. Neumann has also taken an active part in world Zionist affairs, having been Chairman of the Budget Committee at the last two World Zionist Congresses.

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