Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Daily Digest of Public Opinion on Jewish Matters

March 14, 1926
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

[The purpose of the Digest is informatives Preference is given to papers not generally accessible to our readers. Quotation does not indicate approval.–Editor.]

The idea of a Jewish legion in Palestine, hitherto championed by a small group led by Jabotinsky, has, we are told by the “Jewish Morning Journal’s” Tel Aviv correspondent, found new support as a result of the recent order of High Commissioner Plumer reorganizing the British gendarmerie in Palestine in such a way that its Jewish members were transferred to the police force while the Arabs and Circassians form separate legions to defend the Palestine and Transjordania frontiers respectively.

“Lord Plumer’s order was a surprise for us,” writes Mr. Czernowitz, the correspondent (“Jewish Morning Journal,” March 11). The fact that the gendarmerie was demobilized could perhaps be understood. The gendarmerie has been kept up by grants-in-aid from the British government, and Plumer no doubt desires to take this burden too off the shoulders of the British tax-payers in order to silence the perpetual complaints of the anti-Zionists in the British Parliament. But to create in the Jewish Homeland a situation where the Jews are taken out of the defense garrison and the maintenance of peace and order is left to the Arabs–this is absurd even from the standpoint of the government, not only from the point of view of our interests. To rely on the Arabs at a time when the Orient is in a turmoil and the rebellion in Syria is still continuing–this certainly is not a wise policy. The Jews are the only ones on whom the government can rely at all times, for they are interested more than any one else in preserving peace.”

The correspondent further writes that the Jewish press in Palestine, including the Hebrew papers “Ha’aretz,” “Davar” and “Doar Ha’yom,” have unanimously expressed their displeasure with the High Commissioner’s order, terming it an Insult to the Jews. “Although hitherto,” we read “all the papers were opposed to Jabotinsky’s idea of creating a Jewish legion, they all agree now that since the government did make a division and established a separate Arab legion, permission should be given for the creation of a separate Jewish legion to preserve peace and order in the country.”

In connection with the question of the gendarmerie in Palestine some observations by Leonard Stein, Secretary of the World Zionist Organization, made in the course of his article “The Jews in Palestine,” which will appear in today’s (April) issue of “Foreign Affairs,” are of special interest.

“Palestine,” writes Mr. Stein, “has not been altogether free from disorder, but whatever unrest there has been is insignificant in the light of what has occurred since the war in Syria and– in the earlier stages–in Iraq. Since the Jaffa riots of May, 1921, Palestine has been perfectly quice. On this point the following figures covering British expenditure in Palestine (exclusive of contributions to the cost of government in Trans-Jordan) speak for themselves:


Years – Defense – Gendarmerie – Total

1922-23 – £1,724,000 – £300,000 – £2,024,000

1923-24 – £1,150,000 – £250,000 – £1,400,000

1924-25 – £734,500 – £265,000 – £999,500

1925-26 – £428,600 – £212,000 – £640,000

“Apart from the gendarmerie grant-in-aid. British expenditure in Western Palestine as distinct from Trans-Jordan is, and has always been, confined to the cost of the garrison. The steady shrinkage of that expenditure to an almost trifling sum is the best evidence of a progressive improvement in public security.

Recommended from JTA