JABOTINSKY, ZE’EV. (1880-1940). Influential Russian-Jewish Revisionist Zionist leader. SP. (“Z. Jabotinsky”). 1p. 12mo. N.p., (1933). In Hebrew. A three-quarters, original postcard photograph of unsmiling Jabotinsky, wearing glasses and attired in a double-breasted suit. Signed in the lower margin and dated 1933 in another hand on the verso.

Born Vladimir Zhabotinsky in Odessa, Jabotinsky received a secular Russian education, dropping out of school at age 17 to become a newspaper correspondent and earning a reputation for his dispatches from Italy. His work also brought him under the scrutiny of the Tsarist police who imprisoned him for several months after he published an anti-establishment article. Following the 1903 Kishinev pogrom, Jabotinsky became a Zionist, learned Hebrew, changed his name from Vladimir to Ze’ev and organized the militant Jewish Self-Defense Organization to help protect Russian Jewish villages against ever increasing violence. A passionate orator, he traveled widely in Russia and Europe as an advocate for Zionism. However, unlike the more moderate Zionists, Jabotinsky was skeptical that Jews could live peacefully in the territories they had immigrated to and promoted self-defense over assimilation.

Jabotinsky settled in Palestine, where, in 1920, he was elected to the first Assembly of Representatives. That same year, the threat of Arab riots near Jerusalem led him, once again, to organize a defense organization. He was subsequently arrested by the British for illegal possession of weapons but served just a few months of his 15-year sentence. He became disillusioned with the British administration of Palestine, parted ways with Chaim Weizmann and formed the Alliance of Revisionists-Zionists and the related youth movement, Betar, with the goal to establish a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan River. Jabotinsky continued to promote his ideas, lecturing around the world despite his banishment from Palestine in 1930; his influence on Israeli politics continues to this day.

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