JERUSALEM – After decades in exile, Zionist leader Zeev Jabotinsky’s ceremonial saber was returned to his heirs, the State of Israel. After being confiscated by the British in 1920, the sword was presented yesterday (Mar. 24) by Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino to Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.
The top police brass convened at the Begin Center for a special event marking Begin’s 100th birthday, and the pinnacle of the event was when Chief Danino presented Netanyahu with this unique saber.
Jabotinsky, a Revisionist Zionist leader, author, orator, soldier, and founder of the Jewish Self-Defense Organization in Odessa, co-founded with Joseph Trumpeldor the Jewish Legion of the British army in World War, in which Jabotinsky served as an officer in the 38th Royal Fusiliers. The sword had previously belonged to a senior Ottoman officer and apparently came into Jabotinsky’s possession during his service as an officer during World War I.
The saber’s unique story took another interesting turn a few months ago when the police’s History and Education Division discovered that Jabotinsky’s saber had been confiscated while he was arrested by the British as he was defending Jews during the riots at Nebbe Musah. The Division’s researchers learned that the saber had come into the possession of Martin Higgins, a British historian who specialized in the mandatory police and whose father had been a police officer himself. Following Israel’s request, Higgins turned over the sword to the police.
“That which was stolen by the British Mandate 94 years ago, today I the Police Commissioner, in the name of Israel’s Police, entrusted with fortifying the uphold of the law, return to you, Prime Minister of Israel, at this institution dedicated to Menachem Begin, who did much to implement Jabotinsky’s vision of a Jewish democratic state”, said Chief Danino.
“We have returned Jabotinsky’s saber, which represents the Jewish Nation’s victory and its independence,” Danino continued. “By this reinstatement we are executing historical justice.”
PM Netanyahu thanked Danino for the gift and said it was of personal and national significance to him. Netanyahu further praised the police for their excellent work in ensuring the safety of the citizens of Israel.