Haleli Jabotinsky 370.
(photo credit: JAFI)
Haleli Jabotinsky, the great-granddaughter of Zionist pioneer Vladimir Ze’ev
Jabotinsky, is trying to motivate Canadian Jews to become closer to Israel and,
she hopes, make aliya.
Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the founder of the Revisionist
movement, was a militant offshoot of Herzl’s political Zionism and is best known
as the spiritual father of the Irgun – the militia credited by many with
expelling the British from Mandatory Palestine – and for his travels throughout
pre-Holocaust Europe, urging Jews to leave the Diaspora before it was too late.
He was a journalist, orator and the driving force behind the creation of the
British army’s Jewish Legion, which took part in the campaign to conquer
Palestine from the Turks in World War I.
Jabotinsky was a controversial
figure who advocated the use of force and an “iron wall” in dealing with Arab
opposition to the establishment of a Jewish State.
Following his example,
Haleli has been working as a Jewish Agency Israel campus fellow at the Hillel in
Montreal, Canada since August. The Israel campus fellows program brings young
Israelis to campuses, for two years “in order to create an ongoing Israel
presence for Jewish students and the broader community,” according to the
A writer since high school, and currently a columnist with news
website Israeli mako, she seems very much like her great-grandfather, who
started out as a correspondent, columnist and poet for the Russian media. Having
worked as a newspaper writer during her high school and college years, she said
writing is in her family’s blood.
“[Jabotinsky] is in our genes,” she
told The Jerusalem Post
Growing up in the settlement of Timrat in the
Jezreel Valley as one of five siblings, Haleli said she was raised with the
“true essence of liberalism” in that she was encouraged to read, explore and
think for herself.
“I find myself being a Revisionist because I think
that he captured the essence of my political views and social views just like
the one thing I feel most connected to,” she said. “Out of everything that I
have read and heard throughout the years I connect the most with my
great-grandfather’s writings and opinions.”
After graduating from Tel
Aviv University, where she was a student activist studying Bible studies, Haleli
decided to go abroad to serve the Jewish people there. And while her family
history does not play a part in her day to day activities, she said, it did play
a part in her decision to go abroad.
“I grew up very Zionistic and very
proactive so I cannot say that my great-grandfather is the reason why I went out
to do this shlichut, but I can say that growing up in a Zionist family that
brought me up as a very opinionated person definitely held a huge part in me
wanting to do things on the ground.”
Asked if her work in encouraging
aliya reminds her of her great-grandfather’s tours throughout Europe telling the
local Jews that “Either you liquidate the Diaspora or the Diaspora will
liquidate you,” she replied that Jabotinsky was the “ultimate shaliach.”