AFSI's Jabotinsky event
AFSI's Jabotinsky eventAFSI

Americans For a Safe Israel hosted the 76th Anniversary of Ze'ev Jabotinsky's death at Park East Synagogue, NYC on Tuesday night, August 3. A standing-room only crowd attended, with many friends from the AFSI "family", that group of people which continues to travel with AFSI on its semi-annual missions to Israel. The warmth that emanated from the group carried over to the speakers, Ronn Torossian and Arieh King, who knew that they were addressing a group of "Jabotinsky Jews."

As AFSI's Co-Executive Director, I paid tribute to the eleven Israeli athletes murdered at the Munich Olympics in 1972. She also noted the eleventh anniversary of the expulsion of 10,000 Jews from Gush Katif and two northern Samarian communities just after Tisha B'Av in August, 2005. That led right into the Jabotinsky warning to the Jews of Poland on the eve of Tisha B'Av 1938, that the Churban [Hebrew for ruin, catastrophe] was coming.

Tragically, his prophetic warning became a cruel truth and those that ignored him, and jeered at him as being an alarmist, lost their lives in the Holocaust that followed.

Five key principles

The program began with the singing of the Star Spangled Banner and Hatikvah, accompanied by recordings arranged by Charlie Bernhaut. Rabbi Harold Einsidler chanted the memorial prayer and Ronn Torossian, founder of NYC based 5WPublic Relations (5WPR) and one-time president of the North American branch of Betar, was the opening speaker.

Torossian concentrated his talk on the five key principles of Jabotinsky's philosophy:

1. Ahavat Yisrael - the love of Israel - including Jewish education and the Hebrew language.

2. Hadar - a difficult word to translate, but one encompassing self-respect, moral values, honesty, and backbone.

3. Barzel - Iron - The "Iron Wall" - a major principle of Jabotinsky's. Israel must be so strong militarily that its enemies MUST accept its existence. Jewish blood cannot be cheap. Zionism is moral and just and opposes excessive apology.

4. Unity - Confidence in standing alone. There is no need to run with the crowd. There is one truth and every man is king. Jewish settlement of the land is key.

5. Bitachon - Faith in the indestructibility of the Jews. The state cannot deny freedom for individuals. Free markets must exist. The IDF must remain strong. This is the image of the new Jew - the fighting Jew - who will win the battle.

With these concepts of strength firmly implanted in the audience, Torossian turned the podium over to Aryeh King, Councilman for Jerusalem and Founder of the Israel Land Fund.

King surprised the audience with the description of his life as a youngster, growing up in a kibbutz on the Gaza border, freely riding his bike and hitchhiking through Gaza, and swimming in the Gaza sea. The contrast with today is dramatic.

Today, when one thinks of Gaza, one thinks of missiles, tunnels, drones, tanks, terrorism and death. King described the slow transition from the easy going Gaza that he knew as a youngster to today's terror center as one that happened incrementally with walls, gates, and the expulsion and destruction of the Gush Katif communities. He sees the same thing happening in Jerusalem.

Jews are moving back

King blames much of the gradual loss of Jerusalem to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. He is the only Prime Minister who froze building in Jerusalem from 1996-1999. Today there are eight neighborhoods in Jerusalem from which Jews are banned. The separation wall built by Rabin only separates Jews from Jews and Arabs from Arabs. It is useless. While Jewish building in eastern Jerusalem is practically non-existent, illegal Arab building flourishes. There are 56 illegal mosques in eastern Jerusalem, none of which are in danger of being destroyed. At the same time, eight Jewish synagogues have been destroyed. The situation on the Temple Mount is disgraceful with Jews openly suffering discrimination while Arabs have free rein.

The good news is that Arabs are now seeing that despite all the government opposition and difficulties, Jews are moving back into the Old City, Silwan, and parts of eastern Jerusalem, wherever possible. As more and more Arabs are willing to sell their properties, the result is that prices are going down. Jews everywhere now have the opportunity to buy property in eastern Jerusalem and throughout Israel.

Aryeh King invites everyone to contact him ([email protected]; +972-2-622-3195) and to visit the website ( Tax deductible contributions may be made by check, payable to: The Central Fund of Israel - earmarked for the Israel Land Fund - 980 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10018.

Words of strength and pride were sung by all as the program concluded with the Beitar Anthem. Once more AFSI has succeeded in reasserting the Jabotinsky principles upon which Americans For a Safe Israel were created and which continue to be the pillars upon which it stands.

Special thanks to Judy Freedman Kadish, Co-Executive Director of AFSI, and Jonathan Grauman, Research Director of AFSI, for helping to organize the program.

Helen Freedman is AFSI's Co-Executive Director