Ze’ev Vladimir Jabotinsky Is Born

October 17, 1880

Ze’ev Vladimir Jabotinsky is born in Odessa. Mostly known for his revisionist attitudes towards Zionism, which influenced some to take a more militaristic role in helping to bring about a Jewish state, Jabotinsky is also an exemplar of communal social action in areas of self-defense, youth, immigration and fundraising. In 1903, after pogroms in Odessa and Kishinev, he began promoting the idea that Jews actively engage in their own self-defense and in support of Zionism.

In Palestine during WWI, he was central to the creation of Jewish Legion in the British Army. After the war, in response to Arab violence against Jews in the Yishuv, he organized more defense forces to protect Jewish settlers. He ran afoul of British policy and many Zionist leaders for being proactive in Jewish self-defense.

Jabotinsky joined in organizing the Keren Hayesod (“The Foundation Fund”). It would become the main vehicle to fundraise and finance immigration and settlement, laying the foundation for a Jewish state. Jabotinsky was responsible for creating the publicity materials to encourage Jews worldwide to contribute to upbuilding the national home through a voluntary system of “taxation.”

In 1923, he was central to the creation of the Betar youth movement which would play a major role in teaching Jewish youth Hebrew language, culture and self-defense. In 1932, in response to immigration restrictions imposed by the British, he launched Af Al Pi (“In Spite Of”) to illegally bring Jews to Palestine from Europe, an endeavor which became increasingly important after the Nazis rose to power in 1933. Jabotinsky believed that an Arab minority in a Jewish state should have equal rights.

Ze’ev Vladimir Jabotinsky died in New York on August 1940. His will stipulated that his remains should be buried in the Land of Israel only by a Jewish government there. in 1964, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol had Jabotinsky’s remains buried on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

The Knesset website has a Jabotinsky page with a biography, bibliography of writings and photos.

The Jabotinsky Institute in Israel has a wealth of information.