Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Sharon and Jabotinsky

In his speech before the Jewish Agency Assembly justifying the disengagement program (third paragraph from the conclusion), Prime Minister Ariel Sharon explained his rationale for the pullback and expulsion of Jewish civilians from their homes as one of assuring a Jewish majority.

Announcing that
"we do not have the ability to ensure a Jewish majority in every area",
he stated that,
"we had a dream of a Jewish state in all the territories of the Land of Israel, but, unfortunately, we do not have the ability to realize the entire dream."

In support of his position, he quoted from a 1923 article by Ze'ev Jabotinsky wherein the founder of the Revisionist camp had defined Zionism as meaning a Jewish majority and noting that Zionism could be "lost" without a Jewish majority.

A review of the entire article indicates that either Sharon's speechwriter has difficulty in reading or he purposefully manipulated Jabotinsky's intent.

But, at the very least, it should be pointed out that in 1923, the number of Jews living in the-then British Mandate, less than 100,000, was not at all a majority of the resident population. In fact, they were perhaps 20%, less than the number of Arabs residing today under Israel's administration, in the state and the Yesha territories.

Obviously, Jabotinsky in 1923, in believing in a Zionism that would eventually achieve a Jewish majority, had a different value system that Sharon in 2005.


Ze'ev said...

I like your take on the issue. I had a similar take with a slightly different conclusion than yours. My latets post dealt with this issue "The Goal of Zionism" at http://israelperspectives.blogspot.com/

YMedad said...

actually, Jabotinsky was not that insistent and dogmatic about the spiritual and cultural makeup of the state as an overriding principle. In a letter to Ben-Gurion he famously said, if the state, after its establishment, will force me to eat gefilte fish, I'll do that because for me, the primary goal of my activity is the State as a reality. afterwords we can argue as to its essence.