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“Two Banks has the Jordan – This is ours and, that is as well” Ze’ev Jabotinsky from “East Bank of the Jordan”

(ZIONISM.) FRIEDLANSKY, ARYE. A collection of manuscripts and typescripts written by a member of the Revisionist Zionist movement.

Palestine, 1930-1943

31 items comprising 105 pages, 90 manuscript and 15 typescript. Various sizes. Generally in good condition.

This collection of essays, letters, and other papers documents a crucial period during the
British Mandate in Palestine. The author, Aryeh (Simochony) Friedlansky, was a member of the Revisionist Zionist movement founded by Ze’ev (Vladmir) Jabotinsky. These newly discovered documents shed valuable light in the history of Revisionist Zionism.
“Revisionists produced a rich corpus of writings on a wide range of topics, in the process creating a radical new vision of the Hebrew national revival” (Kaplan, The Jewish Radical Right).

At its core Revisionist Zionism was nationalist and thus was at odds with Labor Zionism,
the mainstream political system dominating Jewish institutions at the time. These papers
record Revisionist Zionism’s opposition to many of the political developments of the 1930s. Revisionist Zionism was a “comprehensive national philosophy that sought to refashion every aspect of Jewish national life in its image, a philosophy whose political and cultural imprint is still very much evident in modern-day Israel” (Kaplan).

Subjects include: the formation and constitution of Friedlansky’s Youth Group Union in
Jerusalem in 1930, the Betar youth movement, Herzl, Jabotinsky, “A Letter to the High
Commissioner of the British Mandate of Palestine,” pro-Arab    bias among the British, the rise of violence against Jews in Palestine, Arab riots, promotion of sports among Jewish youth, military service, conscription, and the promotion of a national spirit among Jews in

Many of the Revisionist documents in this collection demonstrate the movement’s campaign for militant action. Several papers concern Jabotinsky’s Betar, a Revisionist Zionist youth movement intended to abolish the “ghetto” mentality of the Jewish people and to cultivate a new kind of Jew powerful enough to build the state of Israel. In “The Sportive and Cultural Work in Betar,” Friedlansky discusses how Jews must become strong and physically powerful in order to protect themselves. “The Question of Legion” and “Betar: A Movement of Liberation” oppose the stereotype of Jew as coward, arguing that a positive militaristic spirit must be instilled in Jewish youth. Unlike members of the Labor movement who saw themselves as workers tied to the land, “young Revisionists saw themselves as warriors, the leaders in the fight for independence” (Kaplan).

Friedlandsky’s manuscript “Since Then and Until Now: A Few Words about Our Political
Situation” published in Hatikvah in 1932 criticizes political leaders of the Labor movement
for advocating restraint as Arabs riot and kill Jewish civilians in Palestine. Mapai, the
dominate Labor party headed by David Ben-Gurion, supported Havlaga, a policy of
restraint that prevented Jews from retaliation for Arab attacks, the military was to act only in self defense. Revisionist Zionists did not see the Labor movement’s purity of arms as an effective means of establishing a Jewish state. Papers in this collection, including “The Blood has not Dried” and “We Exist on a Volcanic Mountain,” address the frustration felt by Revisionist Zionists as Jewish people remained vulnerable in the face of Arab attacks.
Jabotinsky and his followers believed that Arabs would repeatedly challenge their colonizers until they fought the colonizers and failed. A peace agreement between the Jews and Arabs in Palestine would come about only after repeated defeat of the Arabs in war.

This rare survival documents a major force in the development of the modern state of Israel. “The Revisionists embodied the dark side of the Zionist dream, and the violent and militaristic element that they represented has been ignored and overlooked by both the Zionist (and Israeli) academic and the political leadership …” (Kaplan). This unusual collection merits preservation and scholarly investigation.


1. “The Scroll of the Group,” typescript, 1930, 1 p. Recording of a discussion on the
establishment of a “Youth Group Union” in Jerusalem that took place on the first of Av

2. “The Scroll of the Group,” typescript, 1 p. Discussion about “4 Members who envisioned
the establishment of a member group.” Signed A.F.

3. “The Scroll of the Group,” typescript, February 2, 1933, 1 p. Discussion on the process of
the name selection for the group. The name chosen was “The Shevet” (The Tribe).

4. “The Scroll of the Group,” typescript, 4 pp. Discussion on the group’s goal – “to unify the
Zionist currents amongst the youth concerning Hebrew education and the strengthening of a national awareness among the members.” Signed by A. F. followed by the famous saying of the “Great Theodor” (Theodor Herzl): “If you Will it is not a Dream.”

5. Typescript, 1 p. Discussion concerning the upcoming “Muslim World Congress.” Signed A.F.

6. Manuscript, 2 pp. Summary of the failings of the 18 th World Jewish Congress. Comments on disappointment about the leadership of Mapai. Mapai, “Party of the Workers of the Land of Israel,” was the leading political movement before and after the establishment of Israel until 1977.

7. “Tzohar and the 18 th Congress,” manuscript, 3 rd Cheshvan 1933, 6 pp. Expresses
disappointment in the Mapai leadership. Ze’ev Jabotinsky formed the Revisionist Zionist Alliance within the World Zionist Organization in 1925. Signed Arye Simchony (Friedlansky).

8. “Great Zionist,” manuscript, 2 pp. Discusses the founder of political Zionism Theodor
Herzl. Signed Arye Friedlansky. Published in the newspaper “Metzadah,” Volume 1 in 1932.

9. “Comments about Current Affairs,” typescript 1p. Discusses behavior in shelters during
an emergency and the prevention of vehicular accidents – unfinished.

10.a. “ The People of Israel- a Nation or not?” (Chapter A), typescript, 1 p. Discusses the
Betar youth movement. Friedlansky states: “Betar is a youth alliance that supported the most sublime idea of full liberation of the Hebrew nation.” The Betar Zionist youth movement, established in Latvia in 1923, drew its ideology from Jabotinsky, acknowledged as Betar Head. The group had nationalist tendencies and strove to establish a Jewish state.

10.b. “The Sportive and Cultural Work in Beitar,” (Chapter B), typescript, 1 p. Discusses the creation of a sportive, or physical type of an individual, who would be able to protect againstphysical attacks.

10.c. “Betar is a Movement of Liberation” (Chapter C), typescript, 1 p. Discusses the
revolution of Betar and the pursuit of full liberation of the nation of Israel.

10.e. “A Jewish majority in the Land of Israel” (Chapter E), typescript, 1 p. Discusses the
demographic problem of being a Jewish minority in Palestine.

10.i. “The Question of the Legion” (Chapter I), typescript, 1 p. Discusses the cowardly
perception of the Jew and the means by which Betar instills a positive militaristic spirit
among youth. In lieu of attack it preaches self-defense, in accordance with the “good
militarism” of Jabotinsky.

11. “Betar: A movement of Liberation,” manuscript, Sukkot in 1934, 4pp. Discusses the
objective of Betar: to teach youth in order to create a new character of a young person who would fulfill the idea of a Jewish nation on both banks of the Jordan River. Signed A. S.
(Arye Simchony). Given as a lecture in a gathering of Betar instructors (not identical to

12. “A Letter to the High Commissioner of the British Mandate of Palestine,” manuscript,
Tishrey of 1936, 2pp. Criticizes the ineptness of the British government for failing to defend the Jewish Settlement in Palestine during the eruption of Arab violence against the Jews. An increase in rioting of Arab militants against Jews took place during 1936-9 — the period is referred to by Jews as the “Great Arab Revolt.”

13. “Metullah,” manuscript, 2 pp. Discusses the “Betar Company,” a group of Jewish
workers from Betar that began working in farming communities in the Galilee region in
order to combat Arab foreign labor. Topics include buying a tractor, Jewish guarding
activity, the opening of a post office, the visit of the Royal Commission, and rainy weather in Galilee. Metullah is a small Jewish farming settlement established in 1896 at the tip of the northern border with Lebanon, the Upper Galilee.

14. Manuscript, August 20, 1936, 1p. Discusses a letter sent to the Governor of the region
concerning the Arab bias against Jewish residents of Jerusalem and the municipality’s Mayor, Dr. Khaldy.

15.a. Manuscript, 3 pp. Discusses the inaction of the Arab Mayor, Dr. Khaldy, during Arab
riots against Jewish residents.

15.b. Manuscript, 1 p. Discusses the rise of violent Arab youth in Jerusalem, whose
education was funded by the British Government.

15.c. “The Threats,” manuscript, 2 pp. Discusses the Arab threat that riots will continue
until Jewish immigration to Palestine stops. Also, laments the lack of response by the British to Arab threats.

15.d. “Righteous in Sodom,” manuscript, May 8,1936, 1 p. Discusses Arab individuals who
expressed sympathy for the Jews during Arab rioting. Signed by A. F.

16. “Our Participation in the London Talks,” manuscript, January 31, 1939, 3 pp. Argument against an article written by Dr. M. Bileasky in the Haaretz newspaper in favor of Jewish participation in the London talks. Friedlansky rejects Bileasky’s view due to the hostility towards the Zionist cause by participants of the talks. The St. James Conference, which took place during February and March of 1939, was an attempt by the British to reconcile the Arab-Jewish conflict. Signed by A. F.

17. “Regarding the Report of the Royal Commission,” manuscript, 13 pp. A collection of
various views and opinions of individuals (primarily Jewish and British) and newspaper
articles reacting to the Peel Commission. “Palestine Royal Commission” headed by Earl Peel operated during 1936-7 in Palestine. The commission was established to investigate the uprising of Arabs in 1936. Signed by A. F.

18. “Little People,” manuscript, 1st of Shevat 1937, 4 pp. Lashes out against weak views
expressed by representatives of the Jewish National Institutions in front of the Peel
Commission. Mentions the Head of the Jewish National Fund, Menachem Usishkin, who
“lost the faith in the future of Zionism.” Signed A. F.

19. “The Alliance HaPoel with the Arabs,” manuscript, 3 pp. Friedlansky complains about
the willingness of the socialist sport association HaPoel to associate with Arabs in lieu of
collaborating with the Jewish sport Association Maccabbi, a sports organization that did not have a socialist inclination but was connected to national movements such as Betar. The note is initialed by A. F.. Published in “Hatikvah” bulletin, no. 10 on Tishrei 1932.

20. “Since Then and until Now: Few Words about our Political Situation,” manuscript, 4 pp. Criticizes the political leaders of the Labor movement for advocating restraint amid the riots and killings instigated by the Arabs against the Jews in Palestine. Published in “Hatikvah” bulletin, no. 9 on Ellul 1932. Signed A. F.

21. “The Blood has not Dried,” manuscript, 4 pp. Discusses the murders of Jews by the
Arabs and the passive and weak attitude shown by British authorities and mainstream
socialist Zionist political leaders. Friedlansky states: “we want to be able to defend ourselves. Our demand is to have a legal defense right by the Jewish population.” Published in “Hatikvah” bulletin, no. 13 on Tevet of 1933. Signed A. F.

22. “We exist on a Volcanic Mountain” typescript, 1p. Expresses disappointment in the
results of the 17 th World Zionist Congress. Concerns revolve around the lack of safety faced by the Jewish population in Palestine who are under assault by Arabs. Friedlansky concludes that Jews in Palestine stand on top of a volcanic mountain that is about to erupt. Signed A. F., Jerusalem, the Land of Israel.

23. “He Believes – We Don’t,” manuscript, 6 pp. On November 2, 1917 the British
Government issued the “Balfour Declaration”- an official document that for the first time
supported the establishment of a “national home” for the Jews in the Land of Israel. This
pamphlet refers to Lord Reading, who, according to Friedlansky, declared that “the British
Government would fulfill the Balfour Declaration.” It describes the deficiencies of that
document and the unjust actions taken by the British Government ever since, such as the
tearing off of the Eastern Bank of the Jordan River, thus granting that territory to the Arabs, the dissolution of the Hebrew Battalions, the complacency of the British amid the riots of the Arabs, and the granting of rights to the Arabs at the expense of the Jewish population. Friedlansky proclaims: “We believed in you [with] a sincere faith, a youth faith and now we stopped – yes we stopped believing in you. Lord Reading believes in you, we don’t.” Published in “Hatikvah” bulletin, no. 11, on Cheshvan 5, 1933. Signed A. F.

24. “Zhabotinsky is a Villain,” manuscript, 4 pp. Documents an incident during which a
Hebrew teacher in Palestine offended the Zionist leader Jabotinsky and his Revisionist
followers in the presence of his students. Published in “Hatikvah” bulletin, on Cheshvan 5,
1933. Signed “Reporter.”

25. “Certificates,” manuscript, 21 of Sivan 1933, 2 pp. Laments the few “certificates” issued
by the British, complains about the socialist Mapai party’s political “statist” approach
towards Germany, and advocates for directly confronting anti-Jewish Arab militants.
“Cerificates” is a term used often by Zionists to refer to the number of authorized visas
granted by the British Government to Jewish immigrants to Palestine. Signed A. Simchony, the Editorial, 21 of Sivan 1933.

26. “The Legislative Council,” manuscript, 3 pp. Rejects the British proposal of a Jewish
Council, a Parliament, because of doubts in its effectiveness. Expresses the idea that the
independence of such a Parliament would be compromised since it would still be governed by the British Mandate.

27. “A Confession of a Soldier,” manuscript, Tishrei 1943, 3 pp. Discusses the satisfaction
of being drafted into the army and the great privilege it is to be part of the military service. Signed by Aryeh Refaeli, Tishrei, 1943.

28. “From the Diary of a Dodger” manuscript, Tishrei 1943, 10 pp. Discusses the inner
conflict of becoming a draft dodger. Acknowledges the importance of defeating the enemy, Nazi Germany and its collaborators, as well as resistance to joining an army that is not a
“real Hebrew Army.” Signed A. F. and dated Tishrei of 1943.

29. Manuscript, 2 pp. A rhymed satirical poem, limerick form. Contains the names of
different personalities, some are professionals and some are artists, stages them in different social events.

30. Manuscript, 4 pp. Focuses on the issue of draft dodging.

31. Postcard addressed to Reuven Sperber, Maaberet David (David transitional camp) near Haifa, hut no. 102. The handwriting faded and unclear. Provenance: A collection of archival manuscripts and typescripts composed by Aryeh (Simochony) Friedlansky, a member of the Revisionist Zionist movement. Thanks to Yoel Wachtel, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer of Modern Hebrew at Georgetown University Washington, DC who translated and interpreted the content of this collection of documents.