Ze’ev Jabotinsky was a Zionist activist and leader, who has been deemed a prophet by many. In these times, with Israel facing immense American pressure, one can read Jabotinsky’s words from many years ago and envision a secret memo left behind when he passed away in 1940 being delivered today to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
These words can provide answers – and much-needed strength – to the leader of the embattled Jewish state:
- “Human society is based on reciprocity. If you remove reciprocity, justice becomes a lie. A person walking somewhere on a street has the right to live only because and only to the extent that he acknowledges my right to live. But, if he wishes to kill me, to my mind he forfeits his right to exist – and this also applies to nations. Otherwise, the world would become a racing area for vicious predators, where not only the weakest would be devoured, but the best.” (Ethics of the Iron Wall.)
- “We were not created in order to teach morals and manners to our enemies. Let them learn these things for themselves before they establish relations with us. We want to hit back at anybody who harms us. Whoever does not repay a blow by a blow is also incapable of repaying a good deed in kind. Only something who can hate his enemies can be a faithful friend to those who love him.”
- “Do not say, so what if we concede Hebron, Nablus and beyond the Jordan — this concession is not comprised of words devoid of meaning, and everyone will understand this to be the case. Do not underestimate the power of a concession! … Do not underestimate the power of a right, and don’t exaggerate the value of a building that is being built. I, too, respect the construction of a building, but woe upon us if we extract the basis of our right to exist from it.…”
- “Jewish religious tradition is not an archaic object of our history, but an active pulsating power which exists today and will continue for all eternity.”
- “There is no justice, no law, and no God in heaven, only a single law which decides and supercedes all—- [Jewish] settlement [of the land].”
- “We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmed agree with it or not.”
- “God’s name is not Unity but Truth”
These words of Ze’ev Jabotinsky are from before there was a modern day State of Israel, yet are written for today’s leaders. Jabotinsky’s ideas live on – and as was said in those days Long Live Jabotinsky!
Ronn Torossian is an entrepreneur and author – who formerly served as National President of North American Betar, a movement founded by Jabotinsky.