Monday, March 24, 2014

Jabotinsky's Sword

I read this

A historic sword belonging to the Zionist leader Zev Jabotinsky was presented to the Israel Police in a special ceremony on Monday. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu presented the sword to Israel Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino and others.
The sword was confiscated from Jabotinsky by the British authorities in Jerusalem in 1920. Jabotinsky had been organizing self-defense units to defend the Jewish community against Arab terrorists when he was arrested by the British and imprisoned.

A British historian of the Mandate period, Martin Higgins, in the Police Historical Archives claims to have "discovered it" and passed the "stolen" sword on to the one Shlomi Chetrit with the Israel Police Historical Unit:

החרב הגיעה לידי מרטין היגינס, היסטוריון בריטי המתמחה בתולדות משטרת המנדט, ובעקבות בקשת המשטרה, הוא הגיע לארץ עם החרב והעבירה לאנשי חוליית ההיסטוריה במחלקה.

"את שגזלה משטרת המנדט מז'בוטינסקי לפני 94 שנים, אני, בשם משטרת ישראל האמונה על ביצור שלטון החוק, משיב לידיך, ראש הממשלה" אמר דנינו לנתניהו. "החזרת החרב מסמלת את ניצחונו של עם ישראל, את תקומת המדינה ואת העובדה שהיום יש לנו משטרה ישראלית, שתפקידה לשמור ולחזק את הביטחון האישי. ברגע זה אנו עושים צדק היסטורי".

And I thought to myself - 'that's odd'.

So I opened up a book on my shelf and found this:

So, if the sword was extant in 1964 when Jabotinsky was reinterred in Israel at which time Yaakov Meridor placed it on Rosh Betar's coffin, where did it go to that the police "found" it?

Were there two swords?



From what I have gathered this morning, the sword presented to the Prime Minister is definitely not Jabotinsky's British army sword. That is located at the Jabotinsky Institute. It is an Ottoman sword and has the half-crescent and star symbol engraved on it.

The story is that it supposedly was taken from Jabo's rooms during a search and perhaps was taken by him as a souvenir.  I doubt that.  But the check in England claims it was taken from him when he arrived at the Kishleh police station.


1 comment:

Shlomi said...

The claim regarding this - obviously Ottoman - sword being related to Jabotinsky's service in the Jewish Battalion is a mistake, probably made by a journalist. Feel free to check the Israeli Police History Unit Facebook page (היסטוריון המשטרה).