March 18, 2008

Ze'ev Jabotinsky (1881-1940)

Ze'ev (Vladmir) Jabotinsky (1881-1940) founded revisionist Zionism and was one of the most important Zionist leaders after Herzl. He was bitterly hated by his opponents in the mainstream and dearly loved by his supporters. He is unknown even among Israelis because those who hated him, including the first Prime Minister of Israel David Ben-Gurion, won control of the State of Israel and exiled his legacy to obscurity. Ben-Gurion even refused to honor Jabotinsky's last request to have his body buried in Eretz Yisrael at the request of a Jewish government.

Jabotinsky founded the Jewish Legion, the Haganah, was the supreme commander of the Irgun, made Betar into an international youth movement and was it's leader, was one of the earliest supporters of illegal immigration to Palestine, founded the revisionist movement which had a greater number of supporters than the Zionist Organization, was a major proponent of the Hebrew language, and was one of the major Zionists of the pre-state era. His platform included the explicit demand to create a Jewish State which the Zionist organization denied, that the Jewish state be created in all of Palestine, that the British recognize a Jewish militia/police force in Palestine, that a Jewish army fight in World War II, and that the Jews and the British use military force, not appeasement, to stop Arab terror.