The mission to save Jabotinsky’s home from destruction

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October 10, 2017 15:38

Seven high-rises are set to be built five meters from the building which was built in 1880.

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The mission to save Jabotinsky’s home from destruction

MK Ayoub Kara/Ze. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/JERUSALEM POST ARCHIVES)

Communications Minister Ayoub Kara went on an unannounced trip to Ukraine this week on a mission to convince the government to preserve the childhood home of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the founder of Revisionist Zionism and the Likud’s ideological forebear.

Kara was in Odessa on Tuesday, meeting with local authorities, but declined to discuss the matter because of its “sensitivity.”

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The residents of the building in which Jabotinsky lived for most of his childhood, on Odessa’s historic Jewish Street, wrote letters to President Reuven Rivlin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko asking that the structure be preserved as a historic site, according to Odessa newspaper Dumskaya.

Seven high-rises are set to be built five meters from the building, at the site of a former tea-packing factory, and the residents expressed concern that it would cause damage to their home, which was built in 1880.

“Our home was last renovated 50 years ago,” a resident named Vasily Kozubenko told Dumskaya. “The house will just crumble.”

Yossi Ahimeir, chairman of the Jabotinsky Institute in Tel Aviv, said Jabotinsky’s childhood home is now a private building, home to families, and not a place that tourists can visit. The structure features a memorial to Jabotinsky shaped like a large mezuza.

Ahimeir said Kara was going to meet with the mayor of Odessa on Tuesday, and a government source who asked to remain anonymous confirmed the trip’s purpose.

On Monday night, Zionist Union MKs Tzipi Livni and Ksenia Svetlova wrote a letter to Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, who is Jewish, asking him to intervene.

“Ze’ev Jabotinsky, one of the fathers of Zionism, his legacy and life’s work are important to many Israelis,” the letter reads. “We know that you too are familiar with this, and President Poroshenko brought this up in a joint meeting with the president of Israel and Jabotinsky’s grandson in his visit to Israel in 2015.”

“Therefore, we ask you to personally intervene and insure that there will not be damage to the building during the construction work in order to preserve [Jabotinsky’s home] for future generation. This is part of the good connection between the countries and respect for the intersection between our two nations’ history,” the MKs wrote.

Livni, whose parents were officers in the Irgun militia that Jabotinsky founded, said: “I grew up on Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s heritage. In addition to being a great Zionist leader, he was a thinker and a leader whose writings are important for the whole world. It would be the right thing to do to preserve his legacy.”

Svetlova said Jabotinsky’s home is part of Jewish, Israeli and Ukrainian history: “It’s important that the Ukrainian government give attention to preserving the historic structure.Whoever does not preserve the past does not have a future.”

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