British ambassador says founder of Revisionist Zionist movement deserved more respect

Britain’s ambassador to Israel praised Ze’ev Jabotinsky as an important leader whom history has pushed aside.

By Margot Dudkevitch, World Israel News

Marking the 100th anniversary of the British Army’s Jewish Legion, UK Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey paid a visit to the Jabotinsky Institute in Tel Aviv, where he met with officials and was presented with the writings of Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky (1880-19400, founder of the Revisionist Zionist movement and a co-founder of the British Jewish Legion. He was also presented with a picture of the Jewish battalions marching through the streets of London.

“If you enter a bookstore in London, you can find a book about [David] Ben-Gurion, but not about Jabotinsky,” lamented Quarrey. “He [Jabotinsky] is a leader whose consciousness was pushed aside, and this is unfortunate, as he was an important leader.”

Officials at the Institute praised the visit and recommended that a yearly event be held to commemorate the departure of the Royal Fusiliers Brigade from London. CEO of the Jabotinsky Institute, Gideon Mitchnik, commented: “This is an important visit by the Ambassador of Britain, which for Ze’ev Jabotinsky was a source of hope, friendship, partnership, disappointment and even hostility.”

Ambassador Quarrey signed the guest book thanking the Institute for the exciting visit “which has many touches of rich and complex history between the United Kingdom and Israel. I learned a lot.”

Jabotinsky, who was honored as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE)  was an author, poet, orator and soldier. He founded the Jewish Self-Defense Organization in Odessa and later co-founded the Jewish Legion of the British Army during World War I with Joseph Trumpeldor. The unit, comprised mainly of Russian Jews who were exiled from Palestine by the Ottoman Empire, first consisted  of the Zion Mule Corps, but in 1917 the British government agreed to establish three Jewish battalions initiating the Jewish Legion.