Tuesday, August 4, 2015

75 years ago: The death of Ze'ev Jabotinsky

On August 4, 1940, Russian-born Zionist activist Ze'ev Jabotinsky died at the age of 59. Born Vladimir Yevgenyevich Zhabotinsky, he co-founded the Zion Mule Corps in Egypt during World War I, and moved to England, where his efforts resulted in the creation of the Jewish Legion. In the 1920s, Mr. Jabotinsky became the key figure in a movement known as Revisionist Zionism and began advocating for a liberal, democratic Jewish state on both banks of the Jordan River. He supported moving Arab populations if necessary to accomodate the influx of Jews, but he didn't want Arabs ejected from Palestine, and supported the rights of minorities in the proposed Jewish state.

While visiting South Africa in 1930, the British Colonial Office informed Mr. Jabotinsky that he would not be allowed to return to Palestine. During the 1930s he warned of increasing violence against Jews in Europe. When the British government enacted the McDonald White Paper, restricting Jewish immigration to Palestine under the British Mandate for the next five years, Mr. Jabotinsky protested by supporting an armed Jewish revolt in Palestine, involving the Irgun terrorist organization. He died of a heart attack in New York City while attempting to raise financial support for a Jewish army.

Although he didn't live to see the establishment of the state of Israel, Mr. Jabotinsky played a key role in events that led to the nation's founding. The Likud party--the party of current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhu--can trace its history back to the activities of Ze'ev Jabotinsky.

No comments:

Post a Comment