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Jabotinsky – Jurnalist, author, playwrighter

Jabotinsky grew up in Odessa, then part of the Russian Empire, and from an early age was fluent in Russian, Yiddish, French, English and a little Hebrew. He knew the best world literature of that time (Shakespeare, Pushkin and Lermontov).

At the age of 10, he already started writing songs and letters, by the age of 16, and his writings have been published on The Daily newspaper in Odessa.

The young Jabotinsky translated into Russian a selection of excerpts from various languages and a translation he made of the work “The Crow” by Edgar Allan Poe was edited by one of the major newspapers in Odessa and he appointed Jabotinsky the newspaper’s correspondent in Bern, Switzerland.

In Bern, Jabotinsky became a Zionist, wrote his first Zionist literary work, the poem “City of Peace”, and in the fall of 1898 moved to study in Rome.

Italy and its culture influenced Jabotinsky more than any other culture, he learned the Italian language, learned to love the visual arts and blended in the depths of Italian music, theater and poetry culture.
From Italy Jabotinsky, under the pen name “Altalena”, sent many articles to the newspaper in Odessa and later published articles in newspapers in St. Petersburg and in Italy.

In 1901 when he graduated from law school in Rome he was offered a high paying job working full time for The Odessa Newspaper. He accepted the offer and returned to Odessa.

In Odessa of that year, when he was 21, the play “Blood”, the first play Jabotinsky wrote for the theater, was shown, and the following year his play “Ladno” (“Everything is Fine”) was performed, and he continued his work and extensive journalistic writing.

At the age of 23 he left for Basel for the Sixth Zionist Congress and then moved to St. Petersburg where he joined the editorial staff of the Zionist newspaper Razsweit (‘Dawn’), Jabotinsky was one of the most prominent amongst the newspaper writers and his opinion columns were published on a regular basis. At the same time he also wrote for the radical Russian newspaper “Russ” and despite his denials of the matter, Jabotinsky is considered to be at the forefront of the Russian journalist of those days.

In 1907 he went to Vienna where he further expanded his literary education, also studied Czech and Croatian and improved his abilities in Hebrew, and from there moved to Istanbul while simultaneously serving as editor-in-chief of 4 Zionist newspapers (two in French, one in Ladino and one in Hebrew). After two years, he returned to Russia, where he translated Bialik’s songs from Hebrew to Russian, a file that became a bestseller. During these years he became a fighter for the Hebrew language and including it as a language of instruction in schools in Eastern Europe.

At the outbreak of World War I, Jabotinsky traveled west to cover the western front of the war for the Moscow News newspaper, one of the most respected newspapers of the time. During his travels from Stockholm to Tunisia and from Lisbon to Paris, Jabotinsky published many writings, and translated into Hebrew a selection of the poems of the Provence poet Frederick Mistral. Later, together with Joseph Trumpeldor, he established the Hebrew battalions in the English army and devoted himself to the war on the side of the Allies, staying mainly in Israel and Egypt.

In Israel after the war, Jabotinsky was a member of the editorial board of the Haaretz newspaper, in which he published a variety of articles. After the riots of 1920, he was arrested after organizing a protective force to protect the residents of the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem and spent three months in Acre Prison. In Prison he translated one of the canonical works of Italian culture – Dante’s “Divine Comedy”. In his translation, Jabotinsky managed to preserve both the rhyme, the weight and the structure of the work – a triangular rhyme. After his release he moved to Vienna and from there to Paris, where he transferred the editorial staff of the Razsweit newspaper, which became the mouthpiece of the Revisionist movement and as such published many articles by him.

In Paris, Jabotinsky, together with the journalist and translator Dr. Shmuel Perlman, opened the publisher “The Book”, which published, among other things, the first Hebrew atlas, as well as translations of Sherlock Holmes’ books and more.

After the split in Zionism and the establishment of Revisionist Zionism, Jabotinsky was boycotted by most of the press of the time, during which time he published as a book the novel “Samson” (which was originally published in a sequel in the newspaper ‘ Razsweit ‘).

The extensive Zionist activity to which Jabotinsky was drawn in the 1930s did not prevent him from continuing to publish, in 1933 he published his second novel, “The Five”.

Jabotinsky left behind a huge amount of articles and articles, some on topical issues and some on general issues of prose or general culture, two novels and translations from different languages into Hebrew and vice versa.

In addition to his journalistic and literary writing, Jabotinsky also got involved in writing poetry, among the most famous of which are his Beitar song, the vow song, the Acre prison song, the El Al song and more.