From Joseph of the Bible to Martin Luther King; mankind has dreamed.
Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the patriarch of Revisionist Zionism and of the Jewish youth movement Betar (or “Jabo” as he’s commonly referred to in Betar’s innermost circles) also had a dream.
Portraits of Jabo, sporting his iconic horned-rim glasses and his soul-penetrating stare glare down over the offices of Israel’s major political parties such as Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu. A question is posed: do these leading political parties truly mold their ideologies and beliefs around the ever-lasting words of Jabo as they so claim to do?
Firstly, what actually did Jabo dream?
In his 1929 article titled ‘Full Betar Ideology’, Jabo highlighted the aims of Betar. He explains that the aim of Betar is to assist in establishing an autonomous Jewish state in their ancestral homeland. He also advocates fighting for the return of Jewish self-defense and resilience.
In my humble opinion, Avigdor and Bibi can tick this off their list of ideological requirements.
Since 1948, when David Ben-Gurion gave his thundering Declaration of Independence at the Tel Aviv Museum, Israel has been its own sovereign Jewish State. In accordance with Jabo’s vision, Israel still maintains a strong Jewish majority, totalling roughly 75% of the population.
Jewish self-determination is stronger then it has ever been. No longer are the Jewish people defenceless. No longer is ‘Jewish blood cheap’. This is largely attributed to the IDF and her forces, who have kept Jewish people safe since the founding of the State in 1948.
However, Jabo had also dreamed that the citizens of the future Jewish State would receive all their basic needs, namely the ‘Five M’s’ policy. Mazon (food) Ma’on (housing) Malbush (clothing) Moreh (education) and Marpeh (medical care). Sadly this dream has not been fully fulfilled, but rather is a work in progress. According to a report released by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in May 2013, Israel is the most impoverished of the 34 economically developed countries, with a poverty rate of 20.9%.
Furthermore, Jabo dreamed of equality for all of the Jewish State’s citizens. In his 1934 draft constitution for the Jewish State, he argues that the Arab minority should be considered just as equal as its Jewish counterpart in the new State, “throughout all sectors of the country’s public life.”
Israeli-Arabs receive more democratic rights and freedoms in Israel than many of their Arab brethren in other surrounding countries such as Lebanon or Egypt. However even today there is still an undercurrent of racist and discriminatory attitude towards Arabs in Israeli society.
Whether it is Habayit Hayehudi MK Yoni Chetboun stating this week “I don’t want Arabs in IDF uniform,” or the nationalistically motivated assault carried out by Jewish youths last week in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City against an Arab youth. The monster of indifference and hate is still alive and thriving in the Jewish State, contradicting Jabo’s dream.
However, I fervently believe that Jabo would not be wholly disappointed in seeing today’s reality of Israel.
Yes, the elected political parties in Israel do not abide to every last nuance of Jabo’s ideology. From the ludicrous price of cottage cheese, to the nuclear crazed Iranians, Israel has a vast array of problems. However, Israel has a thriving economy, it is a major exporter in modern technology, it has a strong and moral army and lest we forget, is the only true democracy in the Middle-East (despite its fair-share of corrupt politicians).
Israel is a true diamond in the rough; something I believe Jabo would truly be proud of.