A Jewish State Now
by Ze'ev Jabotinsky
The Song of the Prisoners of Acre
by Ze'ev Jabotinsky
The Song Of Betar
by Ze'ev Jabotinsky
by Ze'ev Jabotinsky
In Tel Chai in the Galil
by Ze'ev Jabotinsky
Shir HaDegel - Anthem of the Flag
by Ze'ev Jabotinsky
The Iron Wall
by Ze'ev Jabotinsky
by Ze'ev Jabotinsky
The Jubilee: The Biblical Plan for Expanded Ownership
by Ze'ev Jabotinsky
Anthem of Tel Chai
by Ze’ev Jabotinsky
The East Bank of the Jordan
by Ze’ev Jabotinsky
RA'AYON BETAR - THE IDEOLOGY OF BETAR
by Ze'ev Jabotinsky (1929)
1. THE MISSION OF BETAR
The duty and aim of Betar is very simple though difficult: to create that type of Jew which the nation needs in order to better and quicker build a Jewish state. In other words, to create a "normal", "healthy" citizen for the Jewish nation. The greatest difficulty is encountered because, as a nation, the Jews today are neither "normal" nor "healthy" and life in diaspora affects the intelligent upbringing of normal and healthy citizens.
During two thousand years of exile, the Jewish nation lost the habit of concentrating its willpower on an allimportant task, lost the habit of acting in unison as a people, lost the ability to defend itself, armed in case of emergency, instead, the Jews became accustomed to shouts rather than deeds, to disorder and disorganization, to negligence, both in social and personal life. Every step of the Betar education signifies, therefore, a desire to reach the top and achieve this "normalcy" even though it will take a long time for every Betari to grow up in the proper ways of life and behavior. The goal is not easily attainable but at the very beginning, it is reassuring indeed to know that the Betari remembers them and aspires even if slowly, to arrive at the heights.
2. THE JEWISH STATE
The basis of the Betarian viewpoint consists of one idea: the Jewish State. In this simple idea however, lies a deep meaning indeed. What do the nations of the world symbolize? They symbolize that every nation must contribute its own share to the common culture of mankind, a share which is distinguished by its own specific spirit. This contribution should not and cannot consist merely of the ideas and good advice to other nations; it must serve as a living example of ideas and ideals, tangibly realized, expressed not only in books but in the collective life of the people as well. For this purpose, every nation must possess its own "laboratory", a country wherein the nation alone is master and can freely suit the common life in accordance with its own conception of good and evil. A people's own state is such a laboratory.
There was prevalent for a long time the opinion among Jews that although the Jewish nation has a "mission" of its own, a complexity of ideals which it must contribute to civilization, we can, nevertheless, best serve this mission by remaining scattered among the nations of the world. Thus we will be able by closer contact, they maintain, to offer our ideas to every nation so that it should follow our advice in its collective life. This is a grave mistake. As already stated, one cannot be taught by precept alone. The world is prone to learn even new ideas from tangible examples only. England has, for instance, given to the world an important social idea self government of a free citizenry. How then did the English nation teach other peoples to understand and regulate such a parliamentary system? Certainly not by being scattered among the nations and so convince them; just the opposite is true. Thus it became an example from which the world learned. In a like manner, the French nation carried out its mission of instructing the world the teachings of liberty and equality which it accepted during the great French Revolution The only right way to offer mankind some good is to show practically, and not verbally, how to achieve it. It is not true that the Zionists have ignored the idea of mission, the mission of the Jewish nation in the world; rather we believe that the world will yet learn from us many truths, truths still unknown to it. However, the single way leading to this is the creation of the Jewish State.
3. THE JEWISH MAJORITY IN ERETZ YISRAEL
What then is, practically speaking, a Jewish "State"? When can it truly be said that our country has ceased to be "Palestine" and become Eretz Yisrael? Only then, when there will be more Jews that non-Jews; for the first condition of a national state is national majority. For a long time, many Jews, including Zionists, were unwilling to understand the simple truth. They maintained that the creation of important positions in Palestine (settlements, cities, schools, etc.) is enough. According to them a national life could be freely developed even though the majority of the population were to be Arab. This is a great mistake. History proves that any national position, however strong and important cannot be safeguarded as long as the nation which built it does not constitute a majority. A minority can safeguard its cultural position only as long as it can control the local majority. Sooner or later, every country in the world is to become the national state of the predominant nation there. Thus if we desire that Eretz Yisrael should become and remain a Jewish State, we must first of all create a Jewish majority.
The first step in Zionism consists of this, but it does not follow that it is the last step. After attaining a majority in Palestine and being enabled to govern upon broad democratic principles, we will have before us even a more important task: Shivat Tzion (the return to Zion). By this we mean the creation of such conditions which would enable every Jew who is unwilling or unable to live in the diaspora to settle in the Jewish State and earn his livelihood there. These would probably reach into the millions, while a sufficient majority can be obtained by one million or a million and a half settlers. Afterward will come probably the most important task of all: to make Eretz Yisrael the leading state of the civilized world, a country the customs and laws of which are to be followed by the whole universe. "From Zion shall go forth Torah", signifies a "Torah" not merely in the religious sense. Zionism is a tremendous, overwhelming important tack, the boundaries of which our generation cannot as yet envisage. The first step, that deed without which there can be no Zionism, or a Jewish state, or a real Jewish nation, is the creation of a Jewish majority in Eretz Yisrael on both sides of the Jordan.
4. THE HEBREW LANGUAGE
Betar recognizes Hebrew as the only and eternal language of the Jewish people. In Palestine it must become the only language in all phases of life; in the diaspora it must, at least, be the language of the Jewish educational system, starting with the kindergarten and ending with high school (later on perhaps college too, if we shall ever have Jewish universities in the diaspora). In the education of every Jewish child it must be the beginning and base of everything. A Jewish child who is ignorant of Hebrew is not entirely Jewish, even though he or she is a Betari.
We have the utmost respect for the other languages which are being utilized by our people. Especially do we appreciate the tremendous role of Yiddish in preserving our national integrity, the wealth of its literature and press. We also esteem the Ladino of the Sephardim which also served as an excellent remedy against assimilation. A national language, however, is something different and by far greater. It cannot be a language which the nation has, in the course of its history, derived from a strange people and then suited it for its own purposes. Very significant indeed is the fact that the greatest immortal works of our national genius (the Bible, the Books of HaLevi and Ibn Gavirol, of Bialik and Shneour), were not created in Aramaic during antiquity nor in Yiddish in our own times despite the really great role of both languages in our development. A national language is one which is born simultaneously with a nation and then accompanies the latter in one form or another throughout its entire life. Such is Hebrew to us.
I hope being a hopeful man and having unbounded faith in Betar that there will eventually arrive a day when Betar will also play an important part in the renaissance movement of our language: one role which was forgotten by all the groups participating in this revival movement. I refer to that role which is to safeguard the beautiful tone and pronunciation of Hebrew. Our language is being revived, but without that marvelously harmonious enunciation which it apparently possessed was as musical a language as Latin or French. Today, on the other hand, Hebrew is spoken vulgarly, and the accents are ill-sounding and foreign, even in Eretz Yisrael. This too is a problem which can be termed "lack of Hadar" to talk the language in any manner whatsoever and be careless of its beauty. It is sufficient to look over attentively a page of the Bible with its various notes of pronunciation, in order to understand the love for each letter and the wealth of nuances that could be found in its spoken Hebrew. I sincerely hope that it will be fated to the Betar again to renew this forgotten tradition of our national language. And our national language must again be what it once upon a time was: a poem, a musical masterpiece.
This is the basis upon which is founded the entire Betarian viewpoint of building a Jewish state. It means the creation of a state comprising a Jewish majority on both sides of the Jordan. The special pride of Betar, which differentiates it from all other youth movements, in Jewry, is Monism, Had Nes. Betar signifies a generation that dedicates its life to the sole idea of a Jewish State, without recognizing any other ideals.
Of course it does not follow that a Betari must be blind in regard to the importance or even greatness inherent in other ideals for betterment and reform which now inspire masses of humanity on the contrary the Betari must be open-eyed, clear minded and generous of heart. A Betari must be able to deal fairly and respectfully with all honest aspirations of his fellow men especially because the best of these are derived from Jewish sources. Pacifism, for instance, and above all the war for social justice have their mainspring in the Bible. We also hope for a time to come when the Jewish state will show the world the right way of both eternal peace and social justice. First of all, however, the Jewish nation must build its state, this undertaking is so complicated and difficult that it demands the full strength of an entire generation, perhaps even more than one generation. Jewish youth must, therefore, devote itself completely to this sole task; all other ideas, though they be beautiful and humane, should influence us only in so far as they do not hinder the rebuilding of a Jewish state. When one of these ideas becomes, even if indirectly, an obstacle on the road to a Jewish state, it must be mercilessly sacrificed in favor of the one ideal. One should remember that one may have many ideas and respect them highly, but one can only have one ideal. To this ideal all other ideas must bow, and near it there should not and cannot exist a second ideal, for two ideals are as absurd as two gods; one can worship only one God and only one ideal. Everything else one may like is, and must, remain secondary importance.
As already stated, this is the one fundamental which distinguishes the Betar from all other Zionist Youth movements. The latter have the characteristic tendency to "coordinate" two ideals like Zionism and Socialism serving both simultaneously. As a result, there is a confusion which renders impossible a clear-cut relationship toward Zionism and the Jewish state. Being Zionists, they are gladdened at the fact that private capital aids the foundation of new enterprises and increases Jewish immigration; being also Socialists, however, they consider such businesses a plain result of exploitation. The outcome of such an adulteration of conceptions is that neither here nor there are they correct. In reference to Zionism, they are prohibited to use such expressions as "Jewish State" or "Jewish Majority", for this would mean encouragement for the Capitalist settlers too, without whom there can be no large "aliyah" (inflow) of workers. As far as Socialism is concerned, these young people are being jeered at by the "pure", non-Zionist Socialists, who keep on reminding the Zionists that their actions are contradictory to the Proletarian principles. Consequently, we are witnessing the fact that many tire of such confusion and throw the Zionist ideal overboard; for two ideals cannot dwell together and one or another must eventually give way and disappear.
This admixture of various ideals which Betar absolutely rejects we may call biblically, "schaatnez," the euphonistic stand of Betar may be termed in Hebrew "HadNess" (One Banner). Betar has not bent asunder souls, a breach caused by two equally valued aspirations. Everything which disturbs the upbuilding of the Jewish state, whether in connection which private interests or with a group or class must, without preconditions, bow to the one banner, to the command of the highest, the supreme ideal: to the Jewish State.
6. CLASS STRUGGLE
Especially distinct is the difference between Betar and other youth organizations regarding the idea of class struggle in Palestine. This idea maintains that every Jewish worker should consider himself an enemy of the Jewish capitalist even though the latter utilizes his capital to build another factory or to purchase a plantation and employ in his concern Jewish labor exclusively.
This conception Betar holds to be the most conspicuous example of "shaatnez" of a blind absurdity. Classes can exist only in an already formulated and established society; since we are concerned as yet with the colonizing stage, there are no "classes" or "proletarians" or "wealthy" there are only pioneers. These "chalutzim" each of whom participates as well as he or she is able, in a mutual and very difficult enterprise are merely figures on the chessboard of Zionism whoever they are, they play a fighting game while being manipulated by one excellent player. They, the chalutzim, are merely various instruments in an orchestra; each instrument has its own musical score, but the combined instruments play at the same concert and are led by the same conductor. In our case, the chess player and the conductor is named the Jewish State.
Nobody denies that even in Palestine the individual interests of the worker are unlike those of his employer: the former want to earn more, the latter to pay less, as in any other country. However, whereas in France or Italy it is not the concern of the worker whether his employer, a manufacturer, can "stand" a high wage or not, the case is entirely different in Palestine. There the worker, if he is a Zionist, cannot afford the luxury of running a factory because thus the scope of colonization is narrowed.. The manufacturer too, if he is a Zionist, should not tolerate impossible working conditions in his enterprise which then would lose its colonizatory significance. In other words: in Palestine, higher and mightier than class interests, the common interest of rebuilding the Jewish State rules supreme. Consequently there should be no talk of class war, a system, the harmful tendency of which, is manifested when one side threatens the other by means of strikes or lockouts. In Palestine, such conflicts must always be settled in one manner only: through obligatory national arbitration.
Of course, as long as there is no Institute for National Arbitration, a strike might be, at times, the only recourse to gain just concessions from a miserly employer. The Betari must never forget that there is a solidarity among all wage-earners, if it only doesn't disrupt the solidarity of all the builders of the State. The Betari must beware of such courses which threaten to turn the Jewish worker in Palestine into a poor, needy man who cannot live decently and educate his children properly. Upon noticing that arbitration bodies are as yet nonexistent and the only manner in which to defend just working conditions is, to our regret a strike, he, the Betari, is not allowed to disrupt it. We are sorry that there are frequent and quite necessary strike in Palestine when encouraged without economic need, these slow up the work of rebuilding. This is true especially when referring to the strikes with the help of which Histadrut seeks to control the economic life of the Yishuv. The Histadrut declares a strike if a manufacturer or colonist hires laborers, (on just the very conditions) that refuse to join the Histadrut or be subject to its employment bureau. Most of these are Betarim and the real purpose of a strike such as this seems to be the ejection of Betar workers. Naturally, such a strike is not merely "unholy" it is a crime, an injustice which is intolerable for the state which needs every one of its pioneers. Such a strike must not merely be disrupted it must be made impossible; whether one is cursed with the name "scab" or not. An unjust and state disintegrating strike must be mercilessly broken as well as any other attempt to damage the reconstruction of the Jewish State. Finally, it is the right and duty of Betar itself to decide as to the justice or injustice of a conflict; help of the former and break the latter.
In another sense too, the class struggle in Eretz Yisrael is but a fiction, in the sense of uniting the "proletarians of all countries" in a common battle against the bourgeoisie of all nations. Every Jewish worker in Eretz Yisrael knows very well indeed that if Arabian proletarians were to attack the hateful bourgeois of Petach Tikvah, he being a Zionist, would defend middleclass property against his "class brethren". Why? Because it is, first of all Jewish property, a factor in Jewish colonization, a position to be eventually utilized in the process of attaining a Jewish majority. A colonizatory period has its own social laws, which are fundamentally different from those that, perhaps, govern the already established countries. Here are several social laws pertaining to our colonization as comprehended and proclaimed by Betar.
a) 100% Jewish Labor in all Jewish enterprises. Otherwise these are, from the colonizatory viewpoint, worthless. The worst of all national crimes in Palestine is the boycott of Jewish Labor.
b) Decent labor conditions for the Jewish Worker. Otherwise, he will be unable to emigrate and Palestine will then never be a Jewish State.
c) Normal investment of private capital otherwise capital will cease pouring into Palestine and thus the rebuilding of a Jewish State will cease.
d) Obligatory national arbitration in all the social conflicts of Jewish economic life and a "Cheram", a taboo, against the two national crimes; Strikes and "lockouts".
Since the strongest of the labor organizations in Palestine the "Histadrut HaOvdim", does not recognize these principles but insists upon the class-struggle viewpoint, the Betarim-workers in Palestine do not join the Histadrut and cannot, therefore, find employment through its labor bureaus.
The fifth demand is:
e) The formation of neutral employment bureaus, with an equal representation of all Jewish labor organizations as well as of employers under the chairmanship of neutral elements; preferably under the guidance and inspection of such an institute whose function is to be national arbitration.
7. THE LEGION
The Betar is steadfast concerning Legionism: it demands of its members as well of the Jewish youth generally that they fully train in the technique of utilizing firearms, and that they be in readiness always to answer personally the call of self-defense or, time being opportune, of a new Jewish army. The Betar holds that a pioneer who did not prepare himself for this task is useless and unsuitable for Palestine and "Hachshara -a-garin" (military training) is the first and most important of all other requisites.
Our rivals call this "militarism". We should not be afraid, however, of a Latin word. There was a time when the first Zionists too were threatened with Latinism: nationalism..... But those first Zionists too were undaunted and answered: There are two sorts of nationalism: If a nation dwells in its country but also desires to annex the land of its neighbors - that is bad nationalism. On the other hand, when a nation is entirely homeless and demands for itself a portion of G-d's earth, it is a good nationalism about with there is nothing to be ashamed of. The same applies to "Militarism". If a power, unharmed by anybody, begins to arm in order to attack its peaceful neighbors, it is a bad militarism. In, however, the case of Jews, who are being beaten everywhere, and even in Palestine are being threatened with destruction - it is certainly proof of good nationalism to arm for the defense of our lives, property and future. We may then well be proud of it. Every great colonization in history, has always entailed a revolt of the natives. Palestine is no exception to the rule. One who thinks that the Arabs are right to oppose Zionism, may as well reject entirely the idea of colonizing Palestine. But he who holds that the Jewish people has a sacred right in its historic homeland, and that the opposition of the Arabs (a people of only about 40 millions which possesses a territory as large as a half of Europe) is unjustified he should draw the logical conclusion, and in accordance with his conviction aid in the creation of that iron wall, which will make destruction impossible.
8. BETARIAN DISCIPLINE
The building of Betar is founded upon the principles of discipline. Our aim is to make Betar such a world organism which, at a sign from the center, will be able simultaneously to move tens of thousands of hands in the cities of all countries. Our adversaries say that it is "unworthy of free men", that it means being made into a machine. I propose that we should not be ashamed to reply, and proudly to boot: "Yes a machine".
For it is the highest achievement of a mass of free men, if they are capable to act in unison, with the absolute precision of a machine. Only free, cultured people can do so. When ten thousand Czech soldiers are stationed somewhere and at a sign from their commander they all make the same gesture at the very same moment, every onlooker feels that in this there manifests itself the highest self-respect of a free and civilized nation. When we listen to a choir or an orchestra hundred participants of which follow implicitly one conductor and so create an impression of absolute unity, it is a certain proof that each individual gave his best efforts to achieve such a result. Of course, it was not the conductor who forced things: it was the artist himself who desired a complete unity of tone. Into such an "orchestra" we want to transform the Jewish nation, and the first step is Betar. Likewise, no young man is being forced to enter the Betar ranks and there remain, it is his own free will which makes him recognize as the first characteristic of mankind the ability to unite one's individuality with that of others for the sake of a common goal. Indeed the entire conception of "mankind", in its deepest and most delicate sense, is centered in unity. The salvation of Israel will dawn at the moment when the Jewish Nation will learn how to act together and in unison, preferably as a "machine"; when humanity as a whole will learn art, salvation will come to the world, and warring particles will be transformed into one world family.
Discipline is the subordination of a mass to one leader; that leader must subordinate himself to his superior, the superior to somebody higher than himself, etc. It does not signify, however, that one subordinates to a stranger's will - for the leader is but the executor of your own will, your representative whom you freely empowered to conduct your "orchestra". Otherwise, you would not have joined the Betar or remained there indefinitely. The meaning of Betarian discipline too lies in the very important fundamental law of Monism, We all have one will, we build together the same structure, we, therefore, listen to the call of that architect, is accurate in his planning, we pave stones and hammer in nails as instructed. The leader, the conductor, the architect may either be an individual or a body a committee, for instance. Both "systems" are equally democratic as long as leadership is couchsafed by a mass agreement. In France, there reigns a collective body, the cabinet, in the United States, solely the President yet both are strictly democratic republics. For Betar the American system is better suited because it, Betar is a combination of both "school and army" and a class of pupils or a regiment of soldiers is best led by one teacher or one commander, not by a group with divergent opinions. Nevertheless, the first and last source of this complete hierarchy of Betar is expressed in the will of the Betarian mass because it freely elects the highest functionary of the movement Rosh Betar. The growth of Betar and its conception of discipline form a happy and healthy union between freedom on one hand, and monistic harmony on the other.
9. HADAR BETARI
"Hadar" is a Hebrew word which hardly is at all translatable into another language: It combines various conceptions such as outward beauty, respect, self-esteem, politeness, faithfulness. The only suitable "translation" into the language of real life must be the Betari - in his dealings, actions, speech and thought. Naturally, we are all as yet removed from such a state of things, and in one generation cannot be achieved. Nevertheless, "Hadar Betar" must be the daily goal of each one of us: our every step, gesture, word, action and thought must always be strictly executed from the Hadar viewpoint.
If "Hadar" is important to every man generally, it is doubly so to us Jews. We have already stated that life in the Diaspora has greatly weakened many of our soundest normal instincts: The outward form of our life has however been still more neglected. We all know, we often deplore the fact that to the average Jews manners of appearance are of no consequence whatsoever, this is not a "trifle" it is an important problem of self-respect. A man must care of his bodily cleanliness not because he fears his fellow men, but simply by reason of self-respect. He should also accustom himself to speech and gestures in which there must be discerned an equal esteem of his own "Majesty" for every man has majesty of a kind; a Jew especially, if the expression "aristocrat" has any meaning, it is this: an aristocrat is he whose fathers, grandfathers and so on, for many generations were men of "culture"; men who were not merely existing but were capable to engross themselves in noble ideas and suit their way of life in accordance with higher ideals. If such is the case, we Jews are the most "aristocratic" people in the world. Even the most ancient of ruling dynasties have to their credit not more than 20 - 30 generations of culture. Further, some where at the beginning we find at best a medieval, half-savage peasant, or a robber. Jews, however, have seventy generations of man in the past; men who could read and write; men who studied and discussed G-d, history, ideas of justice, human problems and the future. In this sense, every Jew is a "prince" and the bitterest of all jokes that the Diaspora played upon us is, that the Jews are generally considered as hailing from G-d knows where....
Only the ignorant can persuade themselves that the question of "Hadar" is a private matter or a "family-affair" Each of us recognize the fact that we behave differently towards a man who manners show "uncivilized" abandon or coarseness than towards a person whose every word denotes him a "princely", though he is poorly dressed and is a woodcutter in a forest. Were all Jews to act properly the anti-Semites probably would hate us anyhow but it would be a hate mixed with respect, and our situation in the world would have been quite different than it is. In attaining the Zionist aims too, a tasteful mode of life would help us greatly; a dolt who yells, jostles and has no sense of order, is incapable to create an impression of "state-leadership". On the other hand, a group, every individual of which shows in his behavior and mannerism a long-standing tradition of culture, forces even an enemy to admit that, "Yes, this is a nation, these people can build a State".
One of the good methods of "Hadar" education is, in fact, the Betarian discipline but is not sufficient. Every individual must examine and weigh and measure his personal habit. "Hadar" consists of a thousand trifles which collectively form every day life: Eat noiselessly and slowly, do not protrude your elbows at meals, do not sip your soup loudly: walking upstairs at night, do not talk - you awaken the neighbors; in the street give right of way to a lady, to an elderly person, to a child; to every man - let him be rude, be not so yourself. All these as well as an endless row of other trifles make up the "Hadar Betari".
More important is moral "Hadar". You must be generous, if no question of principle is involved. Do not bargain about trivialities, you, rather should give something instead of exacting it from somebody else. Every word of your must be a "word of honor", and the latter is mightier that steel. A time must eventually arrive, when a Jew desiring to express his highest appreciation of human honesty, courtesy and esteem will not say, as now: "He is a real gentleman!" but "He is a real Betari!"
10. TRADE TRAINING
In this field too, Betar will have its own say. That the present day system of Aliyah preparation, (especially agriculture) became merely a useless farce is admitted by all. Nevertheless, one does not hear of any positive proposals as how to change the situation. I do hope that the right proposal, and, better still, the example itself will come from Betar. About twenty years ago it was generally conceded that the best a person can do for himself, was to completely master some "trade" or profession. Shoemakers or tailors, farmers or lawyers were certain to find their respective social and economic positions. Today, too, it is probably the best way, but not the surest any longer, for we may well ask: how many good tailors and excellent lawyers do not earn enough money to buy bread with? In regard to colonization, this certainly almost vanishes altogether - for you cannot exactly estimate how many shoemakers, farmers and doctors the country will need (to be capable to absorb) in the very nearest future. Consequently, we may as well ask the question: would it not rather be a good method to train such pioneers who, though not specialists in any trade, are quick to become acquainted with and concentrate themselves in every new field of labor?
There is a French expression "debrouillard" that cannot be adequately translated. It refers to such a man who is able to extricate himself easily from any difficulties that might befall him. For instance, if the electricity is to be repaired, such a man can do it, although he is not an electrician, when the foot of a table is to be put in its place, a pair of trousers mended, or a dinner must be cooked he is capable to handle dexterously all these jobs. It may not be a first class accomplishment not even one of secondary importance but it is very useful, indeed. I often ask myself "whether" a debrouillard" is not the most suitable pioneer-type in a colonizatory period? For one of the characteristics to be found in such a pioneer is naturally this: That when, sooner or later, he will get an occupation, he will master his trade quicker and better than others. (especially is this true of very young people). How and when can one learn to become a "debrouillard"? Of course there is no school for that. One learns this at home, on the streets, through applying oneself to everything and anything. Wherever one goes, one can find something to do, if the oven does not burn properly, the door screeches, a wagon wheel is loose, or mother's sewing machine does not serve - it simply demands the application of some sense, energy and diligence. I am certain that if we could create a generation of "debrouillard-men" they would have been the best pioneers Palestine could ask for.
11. THE PRINCIPLE OF MOBILIZATION
The word "giyus" (mobilization) is definable thus: first and most important is the mobilization of a Jewish army at the opportune time. The second mobilization signifies permanence, and it refers to every Betari who settles in Eretz Yisrael. According to our statutes, the Betari must consider himself "mobilized" for a period of two years and is obligated to do any assigned work in any given place in conditions deemed fit by the Betar Executive.
This principle is extraordinarily important. Nowadays, the Aliyah to Eretz Yisrael has become a very usual thing indeed and even non-Zionists are very desirous to "escape" to Eretz Yisrael, though they might not be interested in the national idea. At times, the difference between the conception of "pioneer" and "refugee" is hardly discernable. We must not allow it in Betar. To us "Aliyah" must remain Aliyah indeed: an action which should possess an element of effort, or accomplishment, of sacrifice for the national welfare, not merely a matter for personal betterment. We, therefore, demand of every Betari that during the first two years in Eretz Yisrael he should entirely disregard his own interest. During that time, a Betari is only an instrument of rebuilding; he must not prefer to work in Tel Aviv rather than in Metula or be pleased to become a baker rather than a carpenter. he must go to such places and do such labor as the Jewish State might demand and as commanded by the Betar in Eretz Yisrael. Thus act those of our young laborers who, at present, are working in various Jewish settlements, and who are organized into "Plugot-agiyus" (work corps).
Our "olim" (immigrants) must know that this is an obligatory duty. Those who do not desire to be subject to the two year giyus should not receive the certificate of a Betarian Olen. Of course, those Betarians born or bred in Eretz Yisrael should also voluntarily enter the "Plugot Avodah". In the case of a Betari desiring to continue his period of mobilization, we will certainly be glad of it; but one thing must be remembered: the first two years are not yours, they belong to the Nation.
12. ISRAELI PRODUCTS FOR THE DIASPORA
The first convention of Betar (Vienna 1928) resolved that the Betar uniforms especially the brown shirts (which, by the way, were worn before one had heard of the German Nazi movement) should be made by Jewish weavers in Eretz Yisrael. To our regret, this has not been realized in actuality; but this will be a duty of Betar in all the countries, to develop great and systematized work on behalf of the products of the Yishuv.
As regard Betar, the principle of "Israel Products for the Diaspora" is not merely one of a hundred proper ways to aid our colonization: it is the most important, almost a synonym, for the settlement of the land. A man is not "held" in Israel by the fact that he settles in Eretz Yisrael and establishes a factory or plants an orchard, this is not enough, he is still just a "tourist" for tomorrow he may lose his livelihood and be forced to leave. Only at that moment that he sells his products it is possible to consider him a settler more or less permanent - a settler and not a tourist. The success of colonization is not measured by the amount of land bought and not in the number of buildings set up, not even in the total of money invested; the success is dependent on whether it is possible to find a market for the products - either in Israel or in the Diaspora. In this sense we may say that the colonization is assured, not where settlers settle, but where possibilities open to see their products. To spread "totzeret ha-aretz" (Israeli products), that is to say, to participate in the colonization of Eretz Yisrael actively and directly to help those who work in Israel and need buyers abroad for the fruit of their toil. When Betar will be able to approach this task, we might call the people engaged in this work - "Pioneers of Israeli Produce", for he who aids in the selling of an article made by a chalutz in Israel is not inferior but as important as the producer.
And this is a job especially for Betar, for the youth. Commerce in our days is dependent on advertisement. For in the big and prosperous cities live the Jews. Not in every corner can a store selling Israeli merchandise establish itself and not every housewife, will all her good will, can always travel a great distance for the sake of such a bargain. Also notices published in strange newspapers, read by rich classes is much too expensive especially in the beginning. Therefore, it is important to spread "totzeret ha-aretz", that the public relations and the bringing of the merchandise to the buyer's house, with price lists and samples in hand, and to collect signatures for this and that, once a week, once a month, and afterwards, to bring the buyers the product on the appointed day. No work is harder or more proper and worthwhile. No other undertaking for the financial good of a Zionist institution can be compared with the tremendous colonizatory importance of the creation of absorptive markets for the Yishuv products, work that a Betar group can aid in to base in Israel plantations, factories and workers, and especially not in the aspect of contributions, but in the form of healthy and commercial profit.
13. A BETARIAN SOCIALISM
I wish to touch upon a subject which probably will enter into our ideology because many of us doubt the need of Betar to create its own theory of social reform. Did we not decide once and for all that, in building a State, we must utilize the means at hand, be they old or new, good or bad, if only we will thus attain a Jewish majority? We also said that naturally another generation will arise, and make use of the national laboratory which we prepared for it. Such a generation may variously test and analyze sociological problems, experiment with the prevalent social orders and seek solutions for its betterment. This is sound principle, for it includes the sacred fundamental law of Monism, "HadNes", and such it must invariably remain as far as practical activity is concerned.
We may enquire however, whether we must unconditionally surrender the course of our theoretical idea. The mind of a thinking young man is hardly asleep, if alert, a young man delves into various worldly problems, among which of course he meets with social questions. One may theoretically agree with Socialism, or be negative towards it this cannot be forbidden and it is unnecessary to bewail the fact, everything is well, if only the projects for a distant future do not disrupt the harmony essential to the one task of the present the building of a Jewish State.
And if so is it not conceivable that a time may arrive when a purely Betarian approach to the social problems shall evolve? This approach would be based upon Jewish sources. Socialism, although formulated at its best by two Jews, Marx and Engels is not build upon exclusively Jewish ideas. Of course, their longing for social justice, which is inherent in every Socialist theory is inspired by Laws of Moses and the Prophets. These sources do not, however, promulgate that concrete plan of a new social order which we term "Socialism". Our Bible does offer a concrete plan of a social revolution, but it is the direct opposite of Socialism. I refer to the idea of a "Yovel" or a Jubilee.
A "Socialist" order means such a social system which once and for all should regulate all class relationship; once and for all abolish the difference between rich and poor so that there will be no further necessity for additional social reforms. All this is good and well, but there is one great flaw in such a system: man thereby would cease to strive, to fight to seek for something better. Everybody's position would be automatically regulated; nothing could be changeable; dreams could be disposed with, the mind would not be exerted and there would vanish every individual's constructive impulse. In this manner, every person must become a kind of an "official" in an almighty State, and as we know, it lies in the nature of officialdom to be satisfied with existing conditions and with a "routine". The mainspring of progress is the mighty fact that millions of people seek battle and aspire. This, in a Socialist State, must disappear.
And do not see that in Soviet Russia, where during the past fifteen years the Socialist system was experimented with, not only was the individual downed by the above described but also that his political and civil liberty was circumscribed and curtailed?
The Jubilee idea is totally dissimilar: for it aims that society should periodically institute a great fundamental social revolution; that it should equalize all classes that it take from the wealthy and give to the destitute. The difference, however, is that the Jubilee idea infers that after such a revolution, every man is free to start anew his social battle, free again to aspire, to utilize his energies and talents according to his desire. Here we do not find any "once and for all" here the reverse is true: make a fresh start! Mankind must not conglomerate into a stony mass among which it is senseless for a man to work better than his neighbor for both, at any rate are equal. No! Humanity must always be stormy and seething. Every man must see before himself an open road upwards; one will rise to the heights another will slide down a precipice. All will be lively. There will be competition and progress until the new year of Jubilee, when everything will once more be equalized to be followed again with a new beginning.
This does not mean, however, that between one Jubilee and another people must perish from cold and hunger as is the case in the present capitalistic system. The Bible has two additional principles; "Shabbat". That you must not force a poor man to work for you at all times and under all circumstances: your right to demand services of his is limited to a higher law. The entire present day system of labor protection, the eight-hour day, the prohibition of child labor, etc., is derived from the one source: our "Shabbat" principle. And the second principle "Pejah", (the obligation to leave part of your crop in the field or in the vineyard for the orphan, the widow, the homeless wanderer) is the source from which spring the taxes for social betterment, all institutions of insurance and security for the people. These are not as yet properly developed, mainly because the world as a whole, expands too much for battleships and cannons. So that no appreciable sums remain for social needs. When armies will be abolished (also a Jewish idea from the Bible) the world will be in a position to make such manifestations as hunger, homelessness and nakedness impossible. The term "destitution" will be no more; every man, whether he earns sufficiently or not will be then certain to have the minimum requirements for a decent livelihood. Such a state will result from the two ancient Jewish principles of "Shabbat" and "Pejah". Consequently, even in the interim between two "Jubilees" a person who is not successful in economic competition will not suffer hunger-pangs; even if he or she will fail he or she will fail not upon hard stones but on soft warm carpet. Men and women will then be sure of their families and their own existences; they will be enabled to "rise" again immediately and seek their fortunes anew.
In the Bible, this system was quite superficially indicated (specifically the Jubilee idea). However, in a few instances we envisage a seed of such a social outlook which is probably better, more beautiful and "humane" that Socialism. Its beauty consists of the fact that instead of one special revolution, which is to put everything in order, "once and for all" (after which mankind may go to sleep interminably), we find in the Jubilee idea a much more refined representation of a humanity which advances steadily by the means of endless "social" revolutions. Each of these revolutions follow one another and each constitutes a new stage of progress; each of these does not arrive like a bloody outbreak but constitutionally, as a perfectly lawful event and in the interim as already stated, rule the two main fundamentals of Shabbat and Pejah, the principles of which must be developed to the utmost extent. For these aims to stamp out mercilessly every vestige of hunger, cold and homelessness as well as the possibilities of failure. On the other hand, the opportunities of attainment must be open to every individual. These "Shabbat" and "Pejah" principles, at their best, will serve as the strongest impulse for all men to battle energetically in Life's arena.
Perhaps therein lies the groundwork for a new, purely physical social conception which the future Jewish State will be privileged to realize in life, which, meantime, can serve as a base for purely Betarian Social Philosophy.