Last week marked the 140th birthday of one of Zionism’s most remarkable and prophetic leaders: Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky. The intellectual father of the Revisionist school and the ideological forerunner of today’s ruling Likud party, Jabotinsky exhibited more foresight during his lifetime that nearly any of his contemporaries. He was, for example, foremost in sounding the alarm about the danger to European Jews a decade before the Holocaust.
His prescience is also on display in a pair of essays he wrote in the 1920s: “The Iron Wall” and “Ethics of the Iron Wall,” in which he laid out a security doctrine for dealing with the Arab population of Palestine. Even a century later, these essays read as if they could have been written just yesterday.
Several years ago, the Israeli writer and thinker Yossi Klein Halevi joined the podcast to discuss Jabotinsky’s Zionism, how he related to the Arabs of the Land of Israel, and why “The Iron Wall” still matters today. In honor of this great Zionist founding father’s birthday, we are pleased to rebroadcast this conversation.
If you want to learn more about Jabotinsky, his thought, and why he matters, have a look at these Mosaic's essays:
Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.