||Special issue on the fifth yartzheit of the important Zionist Ze’ev Jabotinsky (1880–1940). The contents of this issue are historical and laudatory articles pertaining to Jabotinsky. The articles discuss various aspects of his life and his leadership of the Revisionist wing of the Zionist movement (New Zionist [Revisionist] Organization, NZO), of which he was president (nasi). The Revisionist party party published several newspapers, among them Ha-Mashkif (1938–48). This magazine is devoted to Jabotinsky.
Born in Odessa to an assimilated family, Jabotinsky joined the initiators of a Jewish self-defense group in 1903 when a pogrom seemed imminent in Odessa and, after the pogrom in Kishinev, immersed himself in Zionist activities. He opposed Herzl on the Uganda project, and by 1914 was the foremost Zionist lecturer and journalist in Russia. When Turkey declared war on the Allied Powers Jabotinsky originated the idea of and was influential in forming the Jewish Legion. In the spring of 1920 Jabotinsky organized the Haganah in Jerusalem, openly leading it to confront the incited Arab masses during the Passover riots of that year. He was immediately arrested by the British authorities, and sentenced to 15 years hard labor, but was included in a pardon by Sir Herbert Samuel, the first high commissioner for Palestine. He was a member of the Zionist Executive Committee but, in 1923, disagreements over policy led to Jabotinsky’s resignation from the Executive and his decision to leave the Zionist Organization. In 1925 a convention of his followers in Paris proclaimed the formation of the World Union of Zionist Revisionists. He lectured all over the world, actively collaborating on dozens of publications in many languages and drawing attention to the shortcomings of Zionist political policies and economic methods in Palestine. His enemies charged him with enmity to labor, militarism, and even fascist leanings. Jabotinsky forcefully supported “illegal” immigration, which, between 1936 and 1940, became a major activity of his movement and, after the outbreak of the Arab riots of 1936, favored underground armed defense (the Haganah system) and finally even accepted the Irgun Zeva'i Le'ummi (IZL) policy of violent retaliation against the Arab population, eventually becoming its supreme commander, but due to his enforced absence from the country, a nominal position.
Jabotinsky was in the U.S. in 1940 to enlist support for the Jewish Army. He died suddenly of a heart attack during a visit to the Betar summer camp. In his will, Jabotinsky said: “My remains will be transferred [to Erez Israel] only on the instructions of a Jewish Government.” However, Jabotinsky ‘s bitter personal rival, David Ben-Gurion, refused to fulfill Jabotinsky’s will. In 1964, Prime Minister Begin had Jabotinsky and his wife, Johanna, buried in a state funeral on Mount Herzl.