Vladimir “Ze’ev” Jabotinsky, 1880 – 1940

October 31, 1930: Tonight approximately eight thousand “Jews gathered in Tel Aviv to celebrate the fiftieth birthday of Vladimir Jabotinsky”   and to protest against the White Paper on the British Policy in Palestine.  (Mitch Levin)

Jabotinsky was a Russian Jewish Revisionist Zionist leader, author, poet, orator, soldier and founder of the Jewish Self-Defense Organization in Odessa. With Joseph Trumpeldor, he co-founded the Jewish Legion of the British army in World War I. Later he established several militant Jewish organizations in Palestine, including Beitar, HaTzohar and the Irgun.

Prior to the Kishinev pogrom of 1903, Jabotinsky joined the Zionist movement, where he soon became known as a powerful speaker and an influential leader.  With more pogroms looming on the horizon, he established the Jewish Self-Defense Organization, a Jewish militant group, to safeguard Jewish communities throughout Russia. He became the source of great controversy in the Russian Jewish community as a result of these actions.

Around this time, he began learning modern Hebrew, and took a Hebrew name: Vladimir became Ze’ev (“wolf”). During the pogroms, he organized self-defense units in Jewish communities across Russia and fought for the civil rights of the Jewish population as a whole. His slogan was, “Better to have a gun and not need it than to need it and not have it!” Another slogan was, “Jewish youth, learn to shoot!”

In 1903, he was elected as a Russian delegate to the Sixth Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland. After Theodore Herzl’s death in 1904, he became the leader of the right-wing Zionists. That year he moved to Saint Petersburg and became one of the co-editors for the Russophone magazine Yevreiskaya Zhyzn (Jewish Life), which after 1907 became the official publishing body of the Zionist movement in Russia. In the pages of the newspaper, Jabotinsky wrote fierce polemics against supporters of assimilation and the Bund.  (from Wikipedia)

Israel Post has issued two stamps honoring Jabotinsky.  Pictured here is a sheet of the most recent one, issued in 1990, Scott No. 1041:

 

zeev-jabotinsky-israel-1071-1990-issue

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