Life Story

Childhood and Youth

Zeev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky was born on 12 Heshvan 5641 (17/10/1880) in Odessa, Ukraine, to Yona Ben Zvi and Hava (Zach), the youngest of three children. One year later his older brother, Meir, died and his father, a wealthy merchant, passed away when Zeev was only six years old. He wrote of his father, "My father died when I was six, leaving us in poverty. I don't remember him at all, or very little, but I heard both stories and legends about him". His mother remained alone with him and his...

Public Activity

Beginnings of Jabotinsky's Public and Zionist Activity In the summer of 1901, Jabotinsky left Italy and his studies, before completing his university degree. On his return to Odessa he discovered that he had earned a reputation as a respected writer and began writing a daily column, "At A Glance", in 'Odesskije Novosti' newspaper. That same year, his first, pacifist, play was staged in the Odessa Municipal Theater, "Blood", about the Boer War in South Africa. At the start of 1902 Jabotinsky...

Literature and Hebrew

Literary Work Jabotinsky was influenced by the multi-cultural and cosmopolitan atmosphere that characterized Odessa, city of his birth. His literary oeuvre extended over many literary genres, including: novel, drama, poetry, literary criticism and feuilleton – a genre that especially characterized him and in which he saw art for art's sake. He even composed an autobiography. In literature and art, the intellectual Jabotinsky perceived tools to educate the people. He viewed art as an educator...

The Legion and the Hagana (Defense)

 The Jewish Legions   Some two years before World War One erupted, in an article published on January 1, 1912, entitled "Horoscope", Jabotinsky wrote that "a war of destruction between two or more superpowers" is about to occur, "with all of the sublime insanity of modern methods…   with inconceivable losses and an enormous expenditure of resources, directly, indirectly and incidentally". With the outbreak of the war, Jabotinsky was sent to the Western Front as a journalist for 'Russkie Verd...

Brit Hatzohar

Zionist Executive Member   In March, 1921, Weizmann invited Jabotinsky to join the Zionist Executive, and, together with Nahum Sokolov, to manage the political department and carry out various other roles. Jabotinsky saw ultimate importance in the renewal of Jewish Legion activities, and claimed that without military power, a Jewish majority in Eretz Israel was not feasible. In July 1921, during the session of the Zionist Executive Committee, his opinion was accepted on the subject. Jabotins...

Betar and Hadar

During the lecture tour that Jabotinsky undertook in the winter of 1923, he arrived in Riga, capital of Latvia, where he met an organization of high school students called "Organization of Active Zionist Youth named for Yosef Trumpeldor", headed by Aharon Propes. This group formed the kernel of Betar (Covenant of Yosef Trumpeldor) Youth Movement, in which Jabotinsky saw the crowning glory of his Zionist activity. He advocated for the formation of a new Jewish type, "genius and generous and c...

Arlosoroff Murder

Arlosoroff Murder and London Agreement   Chaim Arlosoroff, Chairman of the Zionist Executive in Eretz Israel, was murdered by two anonymous people while he walked with his wife on the Tel Aviv beach, on Friday evening, June 16, 1933. The murder flooded the entire Zionist Movement with a wave of false libels, revelations of blind hate and political clashes. The Jewish Yishuv (pre-State community) was swept into a political battle between the Right and the Left. The Zionist Organization establi...

Hatzach

In 1934 the World Executive of "Brit Hatzohar" (Union of Zionist Revisionists) initiated a Petition Movement - a world "petition". The petition was addressed to the British Parliament and various other nations in order to draw attention to the tragedy of the Jewish Diaspora and demanded of them to aid the Jewish people in establishing its home in Eretz Israel. The Zionist Executive denounced the Petition Movement claiming that it was causing harm to the Zionist Movement. Jabotinsky and his s...

The Etzel and the Policy of Restraint

Jabotinsky and the Etzel   The Etzel rose from within the Hagana, following the bloody riots of 1929. Avraham Tehomi, Hagana Commander in the Jerusalem District, resigned, together with a group of commanders, on April 10, 1931, and established "Hagana Bet", known also as "Irgun Bet", "HaIrgun HaMakbil" (Parallel Organization) and "Hagana Leumit" (National Defense). The name "Etzel – Irgun Tzvai Leumi" (The National Military Organization) – first appeared in 'HaMetzuda' (The Fortress) newspap...

Rescuing Jews

Evacuation and Partition   Jabotinsky was most pessimistic about the continuation of Jewish life in the Diaspora. At the Hatzach (New Zionist Organization) Conference held in Warsaw, on June 13, 1936, he clearly raised the idea of "Evacuation" – mass removal of Jews from Europe. Jabotinsky was sharply attacked, accused that his idea would insight the Polish government to expel the Jews. A British Royal Commission of Inquiryheaded by Lord Peel, in 1937, recommended partition of Eretz Israel a...

New York and Jerusalem

New York and Jerusalem   With the outbreak of World War Two, Jabotinsky proposed to the British Prime Minister to establish a Jewish army of 100,000 fighters, who would fight on all fronts, but received no response. He then set off for the United States as head of a Hatzach delegation, to initiate an information campaign to establish a Jewish army. During his journey he visited the Betar Camp in Hunter, New York, where he suffered heart failure. Zeev Jabotinsky died on 29 Tammuz 5700 (4/8/19...