Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s Message About Jews, Terrorism Eerily Valid Today
If history is any measure of truth, the facts about Israel have not changed since the struggle for the modern-day Jewish state began. The wisdom of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the father of nationalistic Zionism, rings as true today as when he set out on his quest to restore the Jewish homeland, and keep Jews safe in this world.
The uncomfortable truth is that the current Islamist jihad against Israel is based solely on the fact that Israel’s enemies want the country destroyed. Thus, there is no possibility of a “two-state solution,” until the Palestinians decide to accept a Jewish state. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clearly believes this, but he cannot say it, because he is facing too much pressure from the outside world.
Jabotinsky was right when he demanded that there must always be a price to pay for terror. He asked a question in 1938 that is eerily as valid today: “Is a situation moral in which one side can commit any crime or murder and the other is forbidden to react?”
It’s as if nothing has changed, and we have not yet learned from history. In a world where Israel is still blamed, what will Netanyahu say when Abbas demands concessions as the price for stopping terror?
Many years ago, during riots in pre-state Israel, Jabotinsky wrote of the disparities that existed then — disparities that seem so familiar today:
Jews can’t let themselves be seen on the roads of Palestine — but the Arab in Tel Aviv feels at home. He gets up in the morning and sets out and knocks on the Jews’ door and says ‘Good morning. I have brought some vegetables’ — and nothing happens. He’s not afraid of being harmed. How long can this go on? Forever? Why, under such circumstances, should the Arabs stop what they are doing?
In a Middle East where Jews are not wanted anywhere else and their lives are threatened even on the streets of Jerusalem, while Muslims and Arabs are welcomed as citizens of Israel and serve as members of Israel’s parliament, Jabotinsky’s comments are fresh and real.
The reward for terror must not be concessions. Jabotinsky’s message about concessions seems as if it could have been recorded today:
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…
Jabotinsky’s famous “Iron Wall” essay, written in 1923, was foretelling:
We cannot promise any reward either to the Arabs of Palestine or to the Arabs outside Palestine. A voluntary agreement is unattainable, and so those who regard an accord with the Arabs as an indispensable condition of Zionism must admit to themselves today that this condition cannot be attained and hence that we must give up Zionism. We must either suspend our settlement efforts or continue them without paying attention to the mood of the natives. Settlement can thus develop under the protection of a force that is not dependent on the local population, behind an iron wall which they will be powerless to break down.
The state of Israel is blessed to exist — and will continue to thrive.
As Jabotinsky wrote, “There is no hope in getting rid of us, because they can make no breach in the iron wall. Not till then will they drop their extremist leaders whose watchword is ‘Never.’”