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January 09, 1981 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-01-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

6 _Friday, January 9, 1981

IBM

Joseph Trumpledor: Centennial of a Zionist Hero

Selectrics

°88

Jews," he wrote, "I have
drunk the cup of suffering
and insult from childhood
. . . Within me there is a
national and personal
grandeur and a lofty, in-
jured pride."
Born Nov. 21, 1880 in
Pyatigorsk, he was already
founder and chairman of a
local Zionist circle at the
time the First Zionist Con-
gress took place in Basle,
Switzerland in 1897.
After his military
service, he studied law
and prepared himself to
come to Eretz Yisrael for
the first time in 1912 with
a group of comrades. He
worked as an agricul-
tural laborer in the first
kibutz, Degania, and
attended the 11th Zionist
Congress in Vienna in
1913.
When the First World
War broke out, he was de-
ported by the Turks for re-
fusing to accept Turkish
citizenship. In Egypt, he
joined the Jabotinsky in be-
ginning a campaign to per-
suade the British to form a
Jewish Legion.
Trumpledor accepted the
British idea of forming a
Zion Mule Corps as the first
step to organized Jewish
military force. Later,
Jabotinsky would admit
that he had been mistaken
and Trumpledor correct in
accepting the British pro-
position. From May to De-
cember, 1915, Trumpledor
set a personal example of
bravery as second-in-
command of the Mule Corps
with the rank of captain in
the Gallipoli campaign
against the Turks.
When the Jewish Legion
was formed, Trumpledor as
an ex-Russian officer, was
excluded.
As- soon as the Russian
Revolution began, he went
to Russia in an effort to re-
cruit 100,000 Jews ready to
fight their way to Palestine
via the-Caucasus. Together
with the writer S. Ansky he
founded the Zionist
Socialist Party. Trumpledor

(Continued from Page 1)
guarded by Jewish self-
defense forces.
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fought in defense of Petrog-
rad against the Czarist
soldiers. However, when the
Bolsheviks took over, they
suppressed his effort for
Jewish self-defense.
He was among the
the
of
founders
Hekhalutz (Pioneer)
movement in Russia. He
envisaged this as an army
of anonymous servants of
Zion, having neigher pri-
vate interests nor inclina-
tions . . . devoted to the
supreme challenge of
building up Jewish
Palestine, willing to do
any work. (Walter Lac-
quer, in his "History of
Zionism," notes in report-
ing this that Ben-Gurion
had similar ideas at the
time).
As Jabotinsky described
him, Trumpledor had been
"for many years a vegeta-
rian, a socialist and a
pacifist, but not one of those
pacifists who sit tight let-
ting others fight and die."
Returning to no-British
Palestine, in search of assis-
tance in bringing Jews into
the country, he got involved
by a chain of coincidences in
the battle of Tel Hai, where
he met his death.
During the year 1919
there had been continuous
frontier disputes involving
a triangle of forces, the
French, the British and the
Arabs. Trumpledor, who
had become military leader
of the Upper Galilee, wrote
a letter appealing for volun-
teers to help support the
small Jewish communities
in the area. Only a few indi-
viduals responsed to his ap-
peal, while the leaders of
the Jewish community de-

Israeli-Syrian
Air Battle Hit

WASHINGTON (JTA) —
The Israel-Syrian air battle
over south Lebanon Dec. 31
was deplored by the State
Department because it
"adds significantly to rising
tensions in the area." But
the department specifically
refused to denounce Israeli
deployment of aircraft
across its border.
(Israeli planes shot down
two Syrian aircraft which
tried to intercept an Israeli
airstrike on. Palestinian
terrorist bases in south
Lebanon, according to an Is-
raeli army spokesman. The
Israeli strike was on ter-
rorist training bases and
staging posts in the Tyre
and Nabatiya areas from
which attacks were
launched On targets in Is-
rael, the spokesman said.
(During the attack, two
Syrian aircraft approached
from northwest of the upper
Galilee area and a dog-fight
ensued between the Syrian
and Israeli aircraft. The two
Syrian aircraft were
downed about five miles
from Metullah. The last
time Syrian planes were
downed in a clash with Is-
raeli planes was Aug. 24.)

Conceit, more rich in
matter.than in words, brags
of his substance; they are
but beggars who can count
their worth.

bated the issue.
On March 1, 1920,
Trumpledor was at a
breakfast in Kfar Giladi
when shots were heard
from Tel Hai.
Trumpledor led a group
of nine men to the be-
sieged settlement. After
negotiations, he allowed
a small group of Arabs to
enter the settlement to
look for French soldiers.
However, when the
Arabs began disarming
the defenders of Tel Hai,
Trumpledor immediately
ordered "Fire!" In the
wild volley that ensued,
Trumpledor rushed to
the gate to prevent more
Arabs from entering and
was shot in the stomach.
Dying, he is said to have
uttered the words: "Never
mind, it's good to die for our
country."
He has become a symbol
to pioneer youth all over the
Diaspora, inspiring both
pioneering socialist and
right-wing youth groups. In
1920, the G'dud Ha' Avodah
(Labor Battalion) was es-
tablished in his name. It
played an important part in
the history of the labor
movement and in the be-
ginnings of the kibutz
movement. In 1923,
Jabotinsky founded Brit
Trumpledor, or Betar, in his
honor.

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death,
his
Since
Trumpledor has become a
legend learned by all Israeli
schoolchildren. He set' a
moral example which has
lived to this day. His life af-
firms the truth of his own
words.
I do not regard myself as a
soldier, and I am prepared
to take arms in hand only
when I can see no other way
before me.

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