THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 132
Chapter 4: Violence: Is This Any Way For a Nice Jewish Boy to Behave?
 
 
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132 The Story of the Jewish Defense League

btiny children—sits about with his little wards and teaches bthem their first Hebrew letters.

b“‘Learn, my children, learn with diligence,’ he tells them. b‘Remember what you learn here, Aleph, Beis, Gimel . . .’ bAnd as he teaches his three- and four-year-olds, he speaks to bthem, but in reality, to himself and to each of us.

b“‘Children, you will get older and then you will under- bstand, yourselves, how much within these letters lie tears band how much pain . . .

b“And Jabotinsky took this song, this unofficial national banthem of Diaspora Jewry, and used it as his point of depar- bture. The Rebbe continues to teach his children, continues to bsigh with the persecution and pain of centuries, but con- btinues his lesson, saying: ‘One must be strong to survive all bthat we have borne and consolation can be found only in bstrength.’

b“Every generation has its aleph, beis, and Jabotinsky takes bhis rebbe and has him look at his tots, the tots whose fathers band grandfathers before them faced a hostile and vicious bJew-hating world, who were beaten and wracked with pain, bwho died at the hands of nations who knew how to shoot. bAnd Jabotinsky’s rebbe sees his tots who will have to grow up bto face the same muzhiks and the same animals, who will face bthe guns of the nations, and he teaches them the new aleph, bbeis—‘Young men, learn to shoot!’

b“It does not matter that the aleph, beis is difficult. It is not brelevent that it is strange and we are instinctively repelled by bit. The rebbe must teach his children that ‘of all the necessities bof national rebirth, shooting is the most important. . . . We bare forced to learn to shoot and it is futile to argue against bthe compulsion of an historical reality.’

b“There were too few rebbes in real life who taught Torat bHa’amim to their children, and in the Eastern Europe of bJabotinsky’s time he was vilified and condemned for his new baleph, beis. ‘Fascist,’ ‘fuehrer,’ ‘militarist,’ were but some of bthe kinder epithets used by his enemies and by those whose black of vision and timidity blinded them to the realities of bwhat was happening. They looked at the clock and saw that bit was six, while Jabotinsky was already reading midnight. b 

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THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 132
Chapter 4: Violence: Is This Any Way For a Nice Jewish Boy to Behave?