New Movement in Spirit of Stern

At a memorial for Yair Stern, activists focus on carrying on his legacy through the new movement L'Herut Tzion -- for the Freedom of Zion.

IsraelNN Staff,

Kumah activists
Kumah activists
Israel News Photo: (file)

The 25th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat was marked by many events in Israel that were held to honor the memory of slain Jewish underground leader Avraham "Yair" Stern, but one in particular focused on carrying his legacy forward.

Activists from three organizations -- Kumah, Ohr Olam and the Zionist Freedom Alliance (ZFA) -- met in Jerusalem Wednesday night for a "Revolutionary Zionism" conference to pay tribute to Stern, the founding leader of the Fighters for the Freedom of Israel. Participants discussed the relevance of Stern's ideological path to Israel's current political situation.

Tuesday Night Live co-hosts Ari Abramowitz and Jeremy Gimpel both attended the memorial, and Gimpel emceed as the new movement, L'Herut Tzion (For the Freedom of Zion), was officially launched. Participants, each there by exclusive invitation, heard Stern's story from veteran activist Eli Yosef, who is best known for his work on behalf of Soviet Jewry and Jonathan Pollard.

Focusing on a line from one of Stern's poems, "It is our dream to die for our country," Yosef explained that while many criticized the underground movement leader's poetry for romanticizing martyrdom, the true intention of such words was to cure the Jewish nation from the sickness of fear; a disease that according to Yosef was the greatest plague of Jewish life in the exile.

Kumah leader and Israel National Radio program director Yishai Fleisher lit a candle for Stern and then recited one of his poems about a day of freedom in the Kingdom of Israel. Fleisher then went on to say that Israel currently suffers from cultural subjugation to Western influences.

Following Fleisher's remarks, Ehav Ever of the Zionist Freedom Alliance outlined the concept of revolution and spoke of reclaiming Zionism from those who he said hijacked it.

Rounding off the panel was ZFA leader Yehuda HaKohen, who focused on advancing Stern's philosophy of Revolutionary Zionism through L'Herut Tzion, made up of activists from all the organizations present. HaKohen stressed that the root cause for most of Israel's problems is a lack of political independence, mentioning that although most Israelis oppose territorial concessions, they also believe that Israel must obey the directives of foreign governments, which often demand such concessions.

"We are starting a new movement tonight," said HaKohen. "that will work through different channels to achieve freedom for our nation. That means pressuring members of Knesset from different parties to advance legislation against accepting foreign money or foreign dictates. And it also means strategically planned public demonstrations and educational initiatives geared towards fostering a desire for freedom among our people.

“This is the great cause of our generation because this is the root cause of Israel's major challenges. In ancient times, when indigenous peoples would fight for their freedom from foreign rule, they would mint coins as a declaration of liberty. And when Yohanan of Gush Halav led his Zionist rebels into battle against Rome, he minted coins with the statement L'Herut Tzion – For the Freedom of Zion. This is the name that we have chosen to march under."