JERUSALEM (Aug. 5)
A work stoppage, closing of entertainment places and black-bordered Hebrew newspapers today marked the unanimous tribute of Palestine Jewry to Vladimir Jabotinsky, leader of the New Zionist Organization, organizer of the Palestine Jewish Legion during the last war and writer, who died near New York City late Saturday night.
Eri Jabotinsky, only son of the Zionist leader, was released late last night from Acre prison, where he was serving a one-year term for aiding extra-legal Jewish immigration, and today was observing the seven-day period of mourning required by Jewish law at the home of an aunt in Haifa. His release was brought about by intervention of James S. McPherson, Government Chief Secretary, following news of Jabotinsky’s death.
The central committee of the Palestine N.Z.O. decided to observe a year’s mourning, to light a “Ner Tomid” (Eternal Flame) in his memory and to keep the president’s chair vacant at all future meetings. The Zionist-Revisionist Party proclaimed a work stoppage, which was observed this morning.
The Jewish National Council called a special meeting of mourning. A meeting of the Jewish Agency Executive was also held at which Isaac Gruenbaum delivered a eulogy and announced that a cablegram of condolence had been sent to Jabotinsky’s widow in London.
In Tel Aviv, black flags were flown from public buildings. The Municipal Council cabled the N.Z.O. in London that “world Jewry and Zionism are mourning the irreparable loss.” The Council proclaimed an official day of mourning for tomorrow, when the funeral will be held in New York. The Habima Theater in Tel Aviv last night interrupted a performance to pay tribute to Janotinsky as a playwright.
The Nathania Town Council assembled for a meeting of mourning and heard a eulogy by Mayor Oved Ben-Ami. Places of entertainment were closed and a work stoppage was held this morning.
Services were held this morning at Yeshuron Synagogue with Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog attending.
At a meeting of the Group “B” General Zionists, Joshua Suprassky suggested the transfer of Jabotinsky’s remains to Palestine–from where he had been exiled in 1920. The World Mizrachi Central Committee announced that it mourned the Zionist leader as “an outstanding personality and one of the fighters for Jewish redemption and freedom.”
Newspapers of all parties–even those which had been Jabotinsky’s most ardent opponents–joined in paying tribute to him. Davar, laborite organ, appeared in a black border and declared editorially that the Revisionist Party had lost a leader and its opponents an adversary of mighty national flame.
“Even among the most cruel and stormy struggles his opponents remembered him as an ardent combatant for Zionism and Hebrew culture,” the paper said. “The labor movement first met Jabotinsky as a companion to establish the Jewish Legions. This remembrance is not removed today. As long as he lived the hope existed that the common aim once more would bring the sharpest opponents together. Therefore, negotiations were carried out, and despite the failures, each believed in the other’s sincerity and responsibility.”
Haaretz, general Zionist daily, declared: “The whole house of Israel mourns the death of a proud, brave and highly-gifted son. The Zionist movement’s history cannot be written without him.” Haboker said: “An eagle has fallen from the skies.”
Rabbi Moshe Blau, head of the religious Agudath Israel, said in a statement: “His death came in an unfortunate hour for the Jewish people.”
Pinchas Rutenberg, president of the Jewish National Council: “A great Jew has died. The Jewish community mourns the death of the people’s champion, who sacrificed himself in fighting for national redemption. May his last appeal bring unity in our ranks.”
Chief Rabbi Herzog: “I am shocked by Jabotinsky’s sudden death. It is a great pity and a great loss. He was a miraculous personality for the Jewish people, especially in its most tragic hour, even for those who did not agree with his Zionist methods.”
Rabbi Ben-Zion Uziel, Sephardic Chief Rabbi: “I am stunned by his death. He was a wholehearted devotee of Israel’s redemption and Palestine’s upbuilding. He died abroad while longing for his homeland.”
Menachem M. Ussishkin, president of the Jewish National Fund: “I am heartbroken. I am unable now to utter a word.”
Leib Jaffe, director of the Palestine Foundation Fund: “In deep mourning I bow my head for a great opponent with whom I connected the brightest reminiscences of my youth and common work and whom I always silently loved despite differences.”
Salmann Shocken, chairman of the Hebrew University administrative committee: “He was an extraordinary Jewish personality. The entire Jewish world must realize the great-ness of the man and of the loss.”
Mayor Israel Rokach of Tel Aviv: “The shock is greater than I can express.”
Dr. Altman, leader of the Palestine Revisionists, described his death as a catastrophe and promised that “the new generation created by him in Israel will stubbornly continue the struggle he began.”
Arab newspapers reported the death and the fact that the Jews were mourning but made no comment.
Extra editions of newspapers were published in Tel Aviv when news of his death came.