“In every generation and in every country, I swear unto you, Rosh Betar, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, to remain loyal to your ideals—the ideals of Betar, to the banner of Betar, and to the name of Betar.”
I grew up in the Betar youth movement, and today so many years later it remains such an important of my life. And I am far from alone - today the majority of the members of the current Israeli government would classify themselves as “Jabotinskyites.” There is no political leader today who would describe themselves as Ben Gurionites, or Weizmannites – but plenty of followers of Jabotinsky.
His words and his wisdom remain so vibrant today:
- With continued pressure regarding “peace talks”, as he wrote in “The Iron Wall,” “A voluntary agreement between us and the Arabs of Palestine is inconceivable now or in the foreseeable future.” Could have been written yesterday!
- When the world constantly pressures Israel for some inane reason, as Ze’ev Jabotinsky wrote in 1911 “Instead of Excessive Apology”: “We (the Jews) constantly and very loudly apologize…. Instead of turning our backs to the accusers, as there is nothing to apologize for, and nobody to apologize to, we swear again and again that it is not our fault… Isn’t it long overdue to respond to all these and all future accusations, reproaches, suspicions, slanders and denunciations by simply folding our arms and loudly, clearly and calmly answer with the only argument that is understandable and accessible to this public: ‘Go to Hell’?”
“Who are we, to make excuses to them; who are they to interrogate us? What is the purpose of this mock trial over the entire people where the sentence is known in advance? Our habit of constantly and zealously answering to any rabble has already done us a lot of harm and will do much more. …”
“We do not have to account to anybody, we are not to sit for anybody’s examination and nobody is old enough to call on us to answer. We came before them and will leave after them. We are what we are, we are good for ourselves, we will not change and we do not want to.”
- “Eretz Yisrael – all this land has and all that is glorified in it – belongs to us, to the people of Israel.”
- “God’s name is not Unity but Truth.” – Fight for what is right.
Ze’ev Jabotinsky wrote about Samson, and in the most well-known passage of the book Samson declares: “Tell them [the Jewish People] three things in my name, and not two: they must get iron [i.e. weapons]; they must choose a king; and they must learn to laugh.”
This saying hangs on the walls of my NY PR Agency today.