Ze'ev Jabotinsky

Ze'ev Jabotinsky (1880 - 1940) was one of the most prominent leaders of the Zionist movement. He was the founder and leader of the right-wing Revisionists movement of Zionism which opposed mainstream Zionism.

Born in Russia to an educated family, Jabotinsky studied law in Switzerland and Italy. An author, poet, translator and orator, he worked as a journalist, and became highly involved in Zionist activities. He admired Herzl but opposed his Uganda plan. After Herzl's death in 1904 he became the leader of the right-wing Zionists.

Jabotinsky was among the leaders of the Jewish Self-defense Organization in Tzarist Russia. In WW-I he founded the Jewish Legion. He served as Commander of the Hagana in Jerusalem during the Arab riots (1920). For this activity, he was arrested by the British and sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment with hard labor, but he was released with other prisoners after a few months as the result of strong public pressure. In 1921 Jabotinsky was elected to the executive council of the World Zionist Organization. He was also among the founders and heads of Keren Hayesod, the central fundraising organization for the World Zionist Organization.

Following the publication of the British White Paper on Palestine in 1922, deep differences of opinion developed between Chaim Weizmann, representing mainstream Zionism as the chairman of the World Zionist Organization, and Jabotinsky. The mainstream Zionists accepted the White Paper, while Jabotinsky strongly rejected it. Consequently, Jabotinsky resigned from the World Zionist Executive and in 1925 established the Zionist Revisionists movement, with the Alliance of Revisionists-Zionists party (Ha'Tzohar; some roots of Israel's ruling Likud party today are traced to it), and its youth movement Betar, at its core.

In 1929, he left the country to attend the 16th World Zionist Congress in Zurich; the British took advantage of the opportunity and refused to allow him to return. Jabotinsky anticipated and strongly warned of the annihilation of the Jews of Europe, and in the 1930s called for the immigration of Jews to Palestine. In accordance with his call, the Revisionists were quite active in Aliya Bet - the organized clandestine immigration to Palestine - prior to WW-II (the "Af Al Pi" ships).

In 1937, opposing the policy of self-restraint of the Hagana, he founded Etzel (Ha'Irgun), a militant underground defense group, and was appointed its Supreme Commander.

Jabotinsky saw in the Hebrew language "a national tongue which came into being together with the Jewish people and which has accompanied it, in one form or another, throughout its long history". Throughout his years of political activity, he was highly involved in a variety of projects concerned with national Hebrew education in the countries of the Diaspora. In the "Tarbut" system of Hebrew schools that was set up in Eastern European countries after WW-I, Jabotinsky saw "the driving force of the Hebrew spirit and the laboratory for creating the new Hebrew character". He worked to recruit Hebrew teachers and to put together Hebrew textbooks and other reading materials.

Jabotinsky died in 1940 in the USA. In 1964, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol ordered that Jabotinsky be reinterred in Jerusalem's Mount Herzl cemetery in the section reserved for distinguished persons of the nation.

The stamp was issued in 1990 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Jabotinsky. The stamp was designed by R. Beckman.