The 25th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat was marked by events throughout Israel honoring the memory of slain Jewish underground leader Avraham “Yair” Stern who was assassinated by British detectives 68 years ago in Tel Aviv. One event in particular, the Second Annual Conference of Revolutionary Zionists, drew a crowd of activist Olim (immigrants) and focused on carrying Stern’s legacy forward.
Leaders and activists from several Zionist organizations including Kumah, L’Herut Tzion, the Zionist Freedom Alliance, the Shomron Liaison Office and Ohr Olam met in Jerusalem Monday night for a conference to pay tribute to Stern, a revolutionary poet and the founding leader of the Fighters for the Freedom of Israel. Participants discussed the relevance of Stern’s ideological path and political calculations to current challenges confronting the State of Israel.
Tuesday Night Live host Ari Abramowitz emceed the event where speakers included Israel National Radio station manager Yishai Fliesher, L’Herut Tzion spokesman Ehav Ever, green activist Aliza Sandberg, ZFA Director-General Yehuda HaKohen and Zev Orenstein of the David Project.
Fleisher lit a candle for Stern and then recited the traditional Kel Ma’ale Rachamim prayer before speaking about a vacuum of leadership and the example set by Stern that should be sought in leaders today.
HaKohen, who hosts the Struggle on Israel National Radio, emphasized Stern’s legacy of thinking outside of the box and transcending the linear political spectrum, asserting that the root cause for most of Israel’s challenges is a lack of political and economic independence.
Utilizing tools from her experience working for environmental causes, Sandberg called up volunteers from the audience to practically demonstrate steps Israel could take to limit dependency on American foreign aid. Orenstein and Ever rounded out the panel by explaining the need to educate the greater public to Jewish national rights in the Land of Israel through an approach Ever described as “unapologetic Zionism.”
Abramowitz then moderated a Q&A session where participants had the opportunity to clarify how to practically effect change in today's reality, while keeping in mind Stern’s militant approach when fighting the British Empire.
“Today the methods are different,” said HaKohen. “We have a Hebrew state and we have a Hebrew army. We no longer see foreign soldiers occupying our country but we do have foreign diplomats pressuring our leadership. We need to get free. This is the great cause of our generation because this is the root cause for all our major challenges.”