Jabotinsky - Zealot and enthusiast: Israel Created In Spite of the Holocaust

Ze'ev (Vladmir) Jabotinsky
(18 October 1880 – 4 August 1940)
Odessa, Russian Empire

Evacuation plan for the Jews of Poland, Hungary and Romania

During the 1930s, Jabotinsky was deeply concerned with the situation of the Jewish community in Eastern Europe, particularly Poland. In 1936, Jabotinsky prepared the so-called 'evacuation plan', which called for the evacuation of the entire Jewish population of Poland, Hungary and Romania to Palestine.


After Herzl's death in 1904 he became the leader of the right-wing Zionists.

In the 1930s, Jabotinsky visited Poland and warned the Jews there of the impending isaster that would engulf them. His warnings went largely unheeded and were vehemently attacked by the anti-Zionist Bund. On Tisha B'av 1938, the traditional date of the fall of the first and second temples, Jabotinsky wrote in 

It is already THREE years that I am calling upon you, Polish Jewry, who are the crown of World Jewry. I continue to warn you incessantly that a catastrophe is coming closer. I became grey and old in these years, my heart bleeds, that 
you, dear brother and sisters, do not see the volcano which will soon begin to spit its all-consuming lava. I see that you are not seeing this because you are immersed and sunk in your daily worries. Today, however, I demand from you trust. You were convinced already that my prognoses have already proven to be right. 
If you think differently, then drive me out of your midst! However, if you do believe me, then listen to me in this twelfth hour: In the name of G-d! 
Let anyone of you save himself, as long as there is still time, and time there is very little. 

What else I would like to say to you on this day of Tisha B’Av is whoever of you will escape from the catastrophe, he or she will live to see the exalted moment of a great Jewish wedding - the rebirth and rise of a Jewish state. I don’t know if I will be privileged to see it, but my son will! I believe in this, as I am sure that tomorrow 
morning the sun will rise. 

Eliminate the Diaspora or the Diaspora will surely eliminate you.

The warning went unheeded. The The Jewish Bund in Poland ridiculed Jabotinsky as a "paper general."

Jabotinsky focused on the Jewish connection to Israel. “No person can remove our rights to this land,' he declared. “The only thing that can take away our rights is if we forget them.”
His slogan was, "better to have a gun and not need it than to need it and not have it!"

Jews have a right to the land of Israel under international law, a fact that too few Israelis are aware of, he said.

When asked if the state of Israel was created due to international guilt over the Holocaust, he replied, “Israel was created in spite of the Holocaust, not because of it.” International recognition of the Jewish people's right to reestablish its homeland began decades earlier, he noted.

 Note Jabotinsky's Anthem of Beitar, saying, “Silence is despicable, it leads to a loss of flesh and blood.”


Return to Palestine blocked by the British

Ze'ev Jabotinsky during World War I.

In 1930, while Jabotinsky was visiting South Africa, he was informed by the British Colonial Office that he would not be allowed to return to Palestine.


Belief in integrating the Arab minority

Jabotinsky was a complex personality, combining cynicism and idealism. He was convinced that there was no way for the Jews to regain any part of Palestine without opposition from the Arabs, but he also believed that the Jewish state could be a home for Arab citizens. In 1934 he wrote a draft constitution for the Jewish state which declared that the Arab minority would be on an equal footing with its Jewish counterpart "throughout all sectors of the country's public life." The two communities would share the state's duties, both military and civil service, and enjoy its prerogatives. Jabotinsky proposed that Hebrew and Arabic should enjoy equal rights and that "in every cabinet where the prime minister is a Jew, the vice-premiership shall be offered to an Arab and vice versa."



Grave of Jabotinsky, Mount Herzl, Jerusalem

Jabotinsky died of a heart attack in New York, on 4 August 1940, while visiting a Jewish self-defense camp run by Betar. He was buried in New Montefiore cemetery in New York rather than in Palestine, in accordance with the statement in his will, "I want to be buried outside Palestine, may NOT be transferred to Palestine unless by order of that country's eventual Jewish government."

Initially, after the State of Israel was established, the governments headed by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion did not make such a decision, but in 1964, shortly after becoming Prime Minister, Levi Eshkol ordered the reinterment of Jabotinsky and his wife in Jerusalem at Mount Herzl Cemetery. A monument to Jabotinsky remains at his original burial site in New York.