Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jabotinsky Goes to the Theater - Stars in a New Play

In this news item, Politics is the thing, we learn that the Herzliya Theater Ensemble's new artistic director wants to increase subscribers tenfold; stage right, meet stage left.

The 2012 repertoire is composed entirely of original plays and constitutes "a sharp and very refined and diverse look at the Israeli reality," Kotler said Sunday.

...[a] play to be performed next season will be A.B. Yehoshua's "Hayelkhu Shnayim Yahdav" (literally "Will Two Walk Together")*, about early Zionist politics. It features a London meeting between David Ben-Gurion, played by Rami Baruch, and Ze'ev Jabotinsky, played by Gil Frank.

The play, which will be directed by Kotler, will be performed in April, as a joint production with the Cameri Theatre.

There is an historical background to this:

The end of the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s were years of growth and consolidation for the Revisionist movement. At various conferences held during that period, doubts were raised as to whether to continue operating under the auspices of the World Zionist Organization. Tensions between the Revisionist movement and Zionist workers’ parties reached new heights after the assassination of Ḥayim Arlozorov, a Mapai leader, in 1933. In an effort to reduce the tension between Mapai and Revisionist camps, a meeting was held between Ben-Gurion and Jabotinsky, and it was agreed that the Revisionists would have a role to play on the Zionist Organization’s executive.

And this

An attempt to restore Zionist peace through a series of London meetings in the fall of 1934 between Jabotinsky and David Ben-Gurion was less noteworthy for its futility than for the light it shed on the visceral difference between Jabotinsky and most of his contemporaries in the Labor Camp. Ben-Gurion was both fascinated and repelled by him. “There was in him complete internal spiritual freedom,” Israel’s first prime minister told Schechman during a conversation in 1945 at his Negev retreat in Sde Boker. “He had nothing of the ‘Galut Jew’ and was never embarrassed in the presence of a Gentile.”


...in October [1934], Pinhas Rutenberg, a Zionist businessman, arranged for a secret meeting between Ben Gurion and Jabotinsky at his London home. On 26 October the two signed an agreement to ban violence in their disputes. Later pacts sought to regulate the relationships between the rival unions and called for an end to the Revisionists boycott of WZO fund- raising campaigns and, in return, the restoration of the Betarims right to obtain immigration certificates, which had been denied them because of their strike-breaking. The agreements were unpopular with the ranks on both sides, with Achimeir in Palestine and Menachem Begin in Poland both bitterly opposing them. However, the Revisionists world congress in January 1935 finally went along with the agreements, but the Histadrut referendum, in late March, overwhelmingly, 15,227 to 10,187, repudiated the pacts.

There were actually four agreements that resulted from the meetings, one was that

In this “London Agreement”, Ben-Gurion and Jabotinsky had come to an understanding and had worked out an agreement together which included the banning of libel and insults between their two movements.

And here:

After the Arlosoroff murder trial, an attempt at a reconciliation between the Revisionists and the Zionist leadership was made in 1934. At the initiative of Pinḥas *Rutenberg, Jabotinsky and David *Ben-Gurion met in London and, after lengthy negotiations, signed three agreements. The first enjoined all Zionist parties to refrain from certain forms of party warfare, notably "libel, slander, insult to individuals and groups." The second was a labor agreement providing for a modus vivendi between the Histadrut and the Revisionist workers, including the controversial issues of strikes. The third provided for suspension of the Revisionist boycott against the Zionist funds and a guarantee of immigration certificates for members of Betar. The agreements were welcomed by Zionist public opinion, but the labor agreement was submitted to a referendum of Histadrut members and rejected by a majority. The atmosphere of goodwill petered out.

The best book is in Hebrew by Yaacov Goldstein - The Agreement between David Ben-Gurion and Zeev Jabotinsky and its Failure (1934-1935), Yariv- Hadar Publication, Tel Aviv, 1979 (together with Yaacov Shavit)


"הֲיֵלְכוּ שְׁנַיִם יַחְדָּו בִּלְתִּי אִם נוֹעָדוּ" which is a verse in Amos 3:3 - "Will two walk together, except they have agreed?"

1 comment:

Lynn Sharon said...

Ben Gurion may have had a love/hate relationship with Jabotinsky, and sadly, it was the 'hate' aspect of Ben Gurion's personality that had him refuse to allow Jabotinksy (he died in NY in 1940 and was buried in Montefiore Cementary on LI) to be reburied in Israel, a truly sad day for Jewish unity. Worse, of course, was Ben Gurion's orders to sink the Altalena off the shore of Tel Aviv, causing the death of young, idealistic Jewish youth who were bringing much needed arms to the nascent Jewish State.