HL Deb 28 September 1944 vol 133 cc224-5

My Lords, I beg to ask the question standing in my name. In doing so I wish to thank the noble Lord, Lord Croft, for carrying out the undertaking he gave in this House to try to get this matter satisfactorily settled.

[The question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government what classes of recruits it is proposed to accept for the Jewish Brigade Group; and whether it is proposed to accept Jewish soldiers who are not British subjects now serving in units of His Majesty's Army other than Palestinian battalions.]


My Lords, it is intended that the Brigade Group shall be formed as far as possible from existing Palestinian units. We shall, therefore, look primarily for recruits from among Palestinian Jews. In general the answer to the second part of the noble Lord's question is in the negative. Strictly limited numbers will, however, be allowed to volunteer in order to provide the necessary cadres with specialized knowledge for the formation of certain of the units needed by a Brigade Group. Only volunteers will be transferred and they will be almost entirely non-British Jews.


May I ask the noble Lord as to the position of Jews in neutral countries who wish to volunteer to fig it in the cause of the Allies? What happens in their case? Will they be considered?


From my answer the noble Lord will realize it is intended primarily to recruit in Palestine. Others will be allowed to volunteer in limited numbers in order to provide the necessary cadres, but he will realize the impossibility, in the time, of collecting recruits from foreign countries even if that policy were desirable. Consequently I am afraid I must limit my promise to the answer I have made.


I thank the noble Lord, but I shall press this matter further because it is urgent.