P. 137

The nearby Rehavia Neighborhood was under a complete curfew that entire day. The President of the Jewish National Council, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, exited his home, presented himself to a British officer and asked to approach the National Institutions Building, which was no more than two hundred meters away. He was asked if he had a permit for exiting during the curfew hours, and when he replied that he did not, the officer ordered him back to his home. Even the physicians among the neighborhood's residents, who needed to get to their shifts in the "Hadassah" Hospital, were not allowed to leave their homes.
The atmosphere on the streets of Jerusalem near the National Institutions Building was reminiscent of wartime. The British soldiers were tense and their fingers rested on the triggers of their weapons. Cars patrolled the streets and every half hour the announcement on the speakers was reported: "Do not leaves the houses." It was only towards evening that the curfew was removed in some of the more distant streets from the National Institutions Building.
It was around noon that a reporter of the "Haaretz" newspaper managed to get into the building and closely follow the searches of the British. Surprisingly, he was granted permission to enter from the British sergeant who guarded the entrance door. Upon entering, he noticed that several soldiers were removing large crates from the building, from which folders and cardboard boxes poked out. Soldiers could be seen within the building with kitchenware, who had apparently prepared a meal for the forces scattered in the area. The reporter moved about freely in the hallways and saw soldiers in many of the rooms, engaged in the examination of documents.
After having toured the first floor, he went up to the second floor and entered the main meeting room. The following is his report from there: "On the table, next to the Chairman's seat, was a submachine gun and additional weapons were laid out in various places." These belonged to the soldiers patrolling the halls or examining the documents in the nearby offices. All the while, crates with files and folders were removed from the complex. "Many files were piled into military crates and collected indiscriminately, whatever they could lay their hands on," added the reporter.
The reporter later reached the office of the Chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive, David Ben- Gurion. The room had been completely overturned, the cabinets open and files and papers were scattered on the floor. He also noticed a discarded passport. In a nearby room, which was part of the Chairman's office, were the Assistant to the Chief Secretary of the Palestine Government Mr. R. Newton and the Assistant Inspector-General of the British CID, Major Richard Catling. The reporter greeted the two and they responded with astonishment and anger over his presence and ordered him to leave the building immediately. A British sergeant was summoned there and escorted the reporter to the exit.
The reporter noted that during his visit to the building, he saw none of the building employees present when the files were taken and transferred the British cars.

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