On Wednesday the Knesset held a special session honoring the Zionist leader Zev Jabotinsky. In attendance were members of the Betar Zionist Youth Movement which Jabotinsky led in the 1920s and 1930s. Also at the session were heads of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center and the Jabotinsky Institute.
Zev Jabotinsky was born to a middle class Jewish family in Russia in the 1880s. He gave up a promising academic and literary career when he saw the small villages and ghettos of Eastern Europe. He created the first Jewish fighting unit since the time of the Romans, the Jewish Legion, which eventually became the Israel Defense Force. Jabotinsky was arrested and imprisoned by the British for his self-defense units but released after mass protests. Jabotinsky's fiery brand of Jewish nationalism inspired Betar, the Revisionist movement, the Irgun Zvai Leumi, Menachem Begin and countless others.