Zionist Leader Jabotinsky’s Stand For Women
This 1929 letter from Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky to Jerusalem’s City Council seems appropriate for International Women’s Day (hat tip: Yisrael Medad).
With all my heart, I would like to share in the expenses of the Municipal Committee (Va’ad Ha’Ir), but until such time as women are given a place on the executive board of the Committee, my name shall not appear on the list of dues-paying members to your institution.
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In his autobiography, he wrote:
I hold the woman’s place over that of men in every fundamental aspect of public and private life. Except for brute labor which demands physical prowess, there is no position or profession that I would not prefer handing to a woman over a man. …in three portraits of women that fate dealt my way–an experience that ingrained within me the concept of a soul woven from strings of steel and strings of silk. And this concept I call ‘woman.
These were not just isolated instances. In 1963, Professor Yosef Nedava edited and published an anthology of Jabotinsky’s sayings on women, “The Image of the Woman as Seen by Z. Jabotinsky“. In the introduction, Chemda Giladi writes:
Both in his speeches and in his writings, Jabotinsky called for the granting of equal rights for women in tribute to their loyalty to the Zionist revival, which frequently reached the level of true zealotry. He unceasingly called to draw upon the spiritual attributes of the Hebrew woman to educate the young generation about settlement, in the city and town, in public institutions and in social work. “Settlement rises and falls with the woman,” he claimed. “The man can conquer the land, yet the settling of a place, despite all difficulties, depends upon the woman, the family.” Moreover, he declared, “Every movement is rigid and lame if women do not take part within it.”