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Biography of Zeev Jabotinsky

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk

 

Zeev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky

We Jews are the most heroic people on earth. Were it not so, there would be no Jews left in this world. Yet, among us there are those who stand out as exceptional defenders of Israel. These are the few who are unwavering in their support of our right to live and to survive, a right normally granted all mankind except the Jews.

Today, when fifty-seven years after the mass murder of 6 million Jews, the European-Arab alliance seeks to slaughter another 6 million if not all of us, we remember Zeev Jabotinsky as one of our greatest heroes.

Born in 1880 in Odessa, Russia, Jabotinsky became a journalist and correspondent for several Russian newspapers. However, the insane European anti-Judaism drove him into a different direction, just as it had done for Theodor Herzl.

In 1903 the Jews of Kishinev were brutally attacked and murdered. As a consequence Jabotinsky joined the Zionist movement started by Herzl and was elected a delegate to the 6th Zionist Congress. But he did more than that. Like the great Meir Kahane in our own day, Jabotinsky organized self-defense units in Russia. He also spread the Hebrew language and culture throughout Russia and participated in the establishment of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

In 1914, Jabotinsky became a war correspondent reporting on the events of the First World War. This brought him to Alexandria, Egypt, where he met Joseph Trumpeldor. Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great, the Macedonian Greek king (356-323 B.C.E. [before the common era]). The city had a Jewish population since the first century. However, in 1948 and thereafter, the Egyptian Arabs forced all Jews to abandon that and all other Egyptian cities without compensation for their homes and their property. That is of course the real refugee problem in the Middle East today.

The Jewish philosopher Philo was born in Alexandria in approximately 20 B.C.E. and died there in 50 C.E. If he interests you, you can get my book Manís Ascent to Reason in the Audubon library. There is a short discussion of Philo in the book. There are also some extensive works about Philo in several libraries.

Now, back to Jabotinsky. Having met Trumpeldor, Jabotinsky was inspired to work for the establishment of a Jewish Legion to fight alongside the British. This he achieved in 1917 when the British government finally organized such a unit. That unit fought to free Israel from Turkish rule, a fight in which Jabotinsky participated. Jabotisnky established the Keren Hayesod (Israel Foundation Fund) and in 1925 founded the Zionist Revisionists, calling for the immediate establishment of a Jewish state.

He also established the youth movement Betar, which trained young women and men in self defense, and edited the Hebrew daily Doar Hayo.

In 1929 Jabotinsky came to the United States on a lecture tour. This provided the British with an opportunity to exclude him from Israel, which he never saw again, as he died in the U.S.A. in 1940.

The influence of Jabotinsky exceeded his presence. Jabotinsky organized the Irgun Zvi Leumi National Military Organization, which fought the British occupiers and organized large scale immigration into Israel. More than 40 ships sailed from Europe during the years of British occupation of Israel and defeated the British-Arab effort to keep Jews out of our land.

Jabotinsky kept writing novels, stories and political tracts which inspired Jews everywhere to fight on for Jewish independence and Jewish rights. His efforts to establish a Jewish army during the second World War resulted in the formation of the Jewish Brigade in 1944. This happened after Jabotinskyís death. That brigade fought under the command of Brigadier E.F. Benjamin in Egypt and in Italy as part of the British army. The brigade was instrumental in finding concentration camp survivors and moving them to Israel despite British opposition.

The Likud party which elected Ariel Sharon was founded on Jabotinskyís principles. Jabotinsky understood that Jews must be ready to defend themselves with force at all times. He understood that the Arabs seek the total destruction of Israel and the mass murder of all Jews. He knew that Jews can only rely on themselves and no one else. He recognized that an independent Jewish state is the only guarantee of Jewish survival in this world and he encouraged all of us to be proud of our heritage, our religion, our civilization and ourselves.

Shalom uívracha.

Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of numerous publications, including Grandparents:  A New Look at the Supporting Generation (with Dr. Ursula A., Falk, 2002), & Man's Ascent to Reason (2002).

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