The Tel Hai Paradox

The record of Jabotinsky’s practical decisions allows his disciples to reach contradictory conclusions about what he really believed, especially about religion and settlement.

August 23, 2021 | Martin Kramer
About the author: Martin Kramer teaches Middle Eastern history and served as founding president at Shalem College in Jerusalem, and is the Walter P. Stern fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
This is a response to The Jabotinsky Paradox, originally published in Mosaic in August 2021

A young Zionist parade in Tel Hai in 1937. Lazar Diner/Central Zionist Archives.

In contemporary Israel, as Avi Shilon points out in his thought-provoking essay in Mosaic, the name of the great Zionist leader and strategist Ze’ev Jabotinsky (1880-1940) offers something for almost everyone. A “seminal figure in the history of the Israeli right,” the inspiration of today’s Likud party, and a prolific author, he left behind a huge corpus of quotable thoughts and ideas. These, however, are so rich in nuance that it’s easy for any two people to reach contradictory conclusions about what he really believed and meant.

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register Already a subscriber? Sign in now