Abba Ahimeir

Abba Ahimeir (Hebrew: אב"א אחימאיר, Russian: Аба Шойл Гайсинович; 2 November 1897 – 6 June 1962) was a Russian-born Jewish journalist, historian and political activist. One of the ideologues of Revisionist Zionism, he was the founder of the Revisionist Maximalist faction of the Zionist Revisionist Movement (ZRM) and of the clandestine Brit HaBirionim.[1][2]

Abba Ahimeir
Native name
Аба Шойл Гайсинович
Abba Shaul Geisinovich

2 November 1897
Dolgi, Russian Empire
Died6 June 1962
OccupationJournalist, historian, political activist
Known forFounding Revisionist Maximalism
Political partyBrit HaBirionim


Abba Shaul Geisinovich (later Abba Ahimeir) was born in Dolgi, a village near Babruysk in the Russian Empire (today in Belarus). From 1912 to 1914, he attended the Herzliya Gymnasium high school in Tel Aviv. While with his family in Babruysk for summer vacation in 1914, World War I broke out and he was forced to complete his studies in Russia. In 1917, he participated in the Russian Zionist Conference in Petrograd and underwent agricultural training as part of Joseph Trumpeldor’s HeHalutz movement in Batum, Caucasia to prepare him for a life as a pioneer in the Land of Israel. In 1920, he left Russia and changed his name from Gaisinovich to Ahimeir (in Hebrew: Meir’s brother) in memory of his brother Meir who had fallen in battle that year fighting against Poles during a pogrom.[3]

Ahimeir studied philosophy at the Liège University in Belgium and at the University of Vienna, completing his PhD thesis on Oswald Spengler's The Decline of the West in 1924 just before immigrating to the British Mandate of Palestine. Upon his arrival in the country, Ahimeir became active in the Labor Zionist movements Ahdut HaAvoda and Hapoel Hatzair. For four years, he served as librarian for the cultural committee of the General Workers Organization in Zikhron Ya'akov and as a teacher in Nahalal and Kibutz Geva. During these years he regularly published articles in Haaretz and Davar, where he began to criticize the political situation in Palestine and of Zionism, as well as of the workers’ movement to which he belonged.[3]

Political activism

Ahimeir with Uri Zvi Grinberg and Yehoshua Yevin

In 1928, Ahimeir, along with Yehoshua Yevin and famed Hebrew poet Uri Zvi Greenberg, became disillusioned with what they viewed to be the passivity of Labor Zionism and founded the Revisionist Labor Bloc as part of Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s Revisionist Zionist Movement. Ahimeir and his group were regarded by Revisionist Movement leaders as an implant from the Left whose political Maximalism and revolutionary brand of nationalism often made the Revisionist old guard uncomfortable.[4]

In 1930, Ahimeir and his friends established the underground movement Brit HaBirionim (The Union of Zionist Rebels) named for the Jewish anti-Roman underground during the first Jewish-Roman War.

Brit HaBirionim was the first Jewish organization to call the British authorities in Palestine a “foreign regime” and refer to the British Mandate over Palestine as “an occupation.” The group initiated a series of protest activities against British rule, the first of these took place on October 9, 1930, and was directed against the British Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, Drummond Shiels, when he was on a visit to Tel-Aviv. This was the first sign of rebellion in Palestine’s Jewish community against the British and the first time that Ahimeir was arrested in the country.[3]

In 1933, Brit HaBirionim turned its activities against Nazi Germany. In May of that year, Ahimeir led his followers in a campaign to remove swastikas from the flagpoles of the German consulates in Jerusalem and Jaffa. Brit HaBirionim also organized a boycott of German goods.[3] Brit Habirionim became fierce critics of the Haavara Agreement and of its chief negotiator, Haim Arlosoroff. When Arlosoroff was killed on a Tel-Aviv beach in June 1933, Ahimeir and two friends were arrested and charged with inciting the murder.[5] Ahimeir was cleared of the charge before the trial even began but remained in prison and began a hunger strike that continued for four days. He was convicted of organizing an illegal clandestine organization and remained incarcerated in the Jerusalem Central Prison until August 1935. His imprisonment put an end to Brit HaBirionim.[3][6][7]

Upon his release, Ahimeir married Sonia née Astrachan and devoted himself to literary work and scholarship. His articles in the newspaper Hayarden led to his re-arrest at the end of 1937 and three months in the Acre Prison together with members of the Irgun Zvai Leumi and other prominent Revisionist activists.[3]

Following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Ahimeir became a member of the editorial board of the Herut party daily in Tel-Aviv, as well as a member of the editorial board of the Hebrew Encyclopedia in Jerusalem where he published (under the initials A. AH.) scores of important academic articles, mostly in the fields of history and Russian literature. Ahimeir died at the age of 65 of a sudden heart attack on the eve of June 6, 1962.[3] His sons, Ya'akov and Yosef, both went on to become journalists.


Abba Achimeir1950
Abba Ahimeir, 1950

Ahimeir regarded Zionism as a secular, territorial phenomenon.[8] He was the first to speak of "revolutionary Zionism," and call for a revolt against the British administration in Palestine. His worldview generally placed the contemporary political situation into the context of Jewish history, specifically the Second Temple Period, often casting himself and his friends as anti-imperialist freedom fighters, the British administration as a modern incarnation of ancient Rome and the official Zionist leadership as Jewish collaborators.[9] Ahimeir's views had a profound influence on the ideology of the Irgun and Lehi undergrounds who later initiated an urban guerrilla war against the British.[10]

Although Ahimeir described himself as a fascist during the late 1920s and early 1930s, and wrote a series of eight articles in the Hebrew Doar HaYom newspaper in 1928 entitled "From the Notebook of a Fascist,"[11] few of his contemporaries took these leanings seriously. Ze’ev Jabotinsky, who consistently maintained that there was no room for Fascism within his Revisionist movement, dismissed Ahimeir’s rhetoric and argued that he and his Maximalist followers were merely playacting to make a point and were not serious in their professed Fascist beliefs.[12]

In the October 7, 1932, edition of "Hazit Ha’am", Jabotinsky wrote:

Such men, even in the Maximalist and activist factions, number no more than two or three, and even with those two or three – pardon my frankness – it is mere phraseology, not a worldview. Even Mr. Ahimeir gives me the impression of a man who will show flexibility for the sake of educational goals… to this end he has borrowed some currently fashionable (and quite unnecessary) phrases, in which this daring idea clothes itself in several foreign cities."[12]

Ahimeir’s fascist image during the 1920s was seized upon by author Christopher Hitchens in a 1998 article titled "The Iron Wall" to argue that fascism was the ideology guiding Benzion Netanyahu, a disciple of Ahimeir, and consequently his son, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.[11] In an April 16, 2010, interview with the Jerusalem Post, Ahimeir’s son Yossi defended his father against accusations of Fascism, saying:

"Hitchens is a known anti-Israel writer who takes my father’s writing completely out of context. Fascism in 1928 can’t be viewed in the context of the 1930s. Of course he would not be a fascist in view of how it developed."[13]


  1. ^ Larsen, Stein Ugelvik (ed.). Fascism Outside of Europe. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-88033-988-8. p364.
  2. ^ Kaplan, Eran. The Jewish Radical Right. University of Wisconsin Press, 2005. p15
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Dr. Aba Ahimeir: The man who turned the tide Beit Aba
  4. ^ Shindler, Colin. The Triumph of Military Zionism: Nationalism and the Origins of the Israeli Right. I.B.Tauris, 2006. p156.
  5. ^ The Assassination of Hayim Arlosoroff Jewish Virtual Library
  6. ^ Golan, Zev. Free Jerusalem: Heroes, Heroines and Rogues Who Created the State of Israel, (Israel: Devora, 2003), pp. 49-53, 66-77.
  7. ^ "Terrorism Experts". Archived from the original on 17 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-02.
  8. ^ The New Hebrew Nation, Yaacov Shavit
  9. ^ Shindler, Colin. The Triumph of Military Zionism: Nationalism and the Origins of the Israeli Right. I.B.Tauris, 2006. p154-175.
  10. ^ Abba Ahimeir Save Israel
  11. ^ a b The iron wall Archived August 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Salon
  12. ^ a b Shindler, Colin. The Triumph of Military Zionism: Nationalism and the Origins of the Israeli Right. I.B.Tauris, 2006. p174.
  13. ^ Streetwise: My Father, Abba – Jerusalem Post

External links

1931 census of Palestine

1931 census of Palestine was the second census carried out by the authorities of the British Mandate for Palestine. It was carried out on 18 November 1931 under the direction of Major E. Mills, following the 1922 census of Palestine. No further census was conducted in Palestine by the British administration.

The census found a total population of 1,035,821 (1,033,314 excluding the numbers of H.M. Forces) – an increase of 36.8% since 1922, of which the Jewish population increased by 108.4%.The population was divided by religion as follows: 759,717 Muslims, 174,610 Jews, 91,398 Christians, 9,148 Druzes, 350 Bahais, 182 Samaritans, and 421 "no religion". A special problem was posed by the nomadic Bedouin of the south, who were reluctant to cooperate. Estimates of each tribe were made by officers of the district administration according to local observation. The total of 759,717 Muslims included 66,553 persons enumerated by this method. The number of foreign British forces stationed in Palestine in 1931 totalled 2,500.

1962 in Israel

Events in the year 1962 in Israel.

Abba (given name)

Abba is a form of ab, meaning "father" in many Semitic languages. It is used as a given name, but was also used as a title or honorific for religious scholars or leaders. (The word abbot has the same root.)


Ahimeir is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Abba Ahimeir, Belarusian Jewish journalist

Ya'akov Ahimeir, Israeli journalist

Yosef Ahimeir, Israeli journalist

Assassination of Haim Arlosoroff

Haim Arlosoroff was assassinated on the night of Friday, June 16, 1933, as the left-wing Zionist leader was walking with his wife on the beach in Tel Aviv, Mandatory Palestine. Initially believed to be carried out by his right-wing political enemies, the subsequent court case ended in acquittal for the two accused of the crime. A third man was acquitted early on of advising the two to commit the act. The case has never been definitively solved.


Babruysk, Babrujsk, or Bobruisk (Belarusian: Бабру́йск, Łacinka: Babrujsk, Russian: Бобру́йск, Polish: Bobrujsk, Yiddish: באברויסק‎) is a city in the Mogilev Region of eastern Belarus on the Berezina river. It is a large city in Belarus. As of 2009, its population was 215,092. The name Babruysk (as well as that of the Babruyka River) probably originates from the Belarusian word babyor (бабёр; beaver), many of which used to inhabit the Berezina. However, beavers in the area had been almost eliminated by the end of the 19th century due to hunting and pollution.

Babruysk occupies an area of 66 square kilometres (25 sq mi), and comprises over 450 streets whose combined length stretches for over 430 km (267 mi).

Babruysk is located at the intersection of railroads to Asipovichy, Zhlobin, Kastrychnitski and roads to Minsk, Gomel, Mogilev, Kalinkavichy, Slutsk, and Rahachow. It has the biggest timber mill in Belarus, and is also known for its chemical, machine building and metal-working industries.

In 2003, there were 34 public schools in Babruysk, with over 34,000 students. There are also three schools specializing in music, dance and visual arts. Additionally, there is a medical school and numerous professional technical schools.


Barkan (Hebrew: בַּרְקָן), is an Israeli settlement in the northern West Bank, about 25 km east of Tel Aviv and 8 km west of Salfit, under the administrative local government of the Shomron Regional Council. In 2017 its population was 1,825.

The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this.

Brit HaBirionim

Brit HaBirionim (Hebrew: ברית הבריונים, The Strongmen Alliance (Alliance of Thugs)) was a clandestine, self-declared fascist faction of the Revisionist Zionist Movement (ZRM) in Mandatory Palestine, active between 1930 and 1933. It was founded by the trio of Abba Ahimeir, Uri Zvi Greenberg and Yehoshua Yeivin.

Jeremiah Halpern

Captain Jeremiah Halpern (also known as Yirmiyahu Halpern and Yirmiyahu Halperin) (b. Smolensk, Russia, 1901; d. Tel Aviv, Israel, 1962) was a Revisionist Zionist leader in Palestine who first came to prominence when he served as aide de camp to Ze'ev Jabotinsky in the 1920s when the latter was head of the Haganah in Jerusalem.Halpern, a certified ship's captain, was known as Rav Hahovel (captain of the ship) for his role in the development of Jewish seamanship.

Leumit Health Care Services

Leumit Health Care Services (Hebrew: לאומית שירותי בריאות‎, Leumit Sherutey Bri'ut, lit. National Health Care Services, formerly Kupat Holim Leumit, lit. Leumit Sickness Fund) is an Israeli HMO, founded in 1933 by the Revisionist Zionist Movement.

List of Zionists

People who played important roles in the definition, historical development and growth of the modern Zionist movement:

Abba Ahimeir (1897–1962), born in Russia, immigrated to Mandatory Palestine, c.1924

Sholem Aleichem (1859–1916) born in Russia, left for New York after witnessing the 1905 pogroms; advocated Zionism in his writings

Shulamit Aloni

Chaim Arlosoroff

David Baazov

Meir Bar-Ilan, rabbi and leader of Religious Zionists (National Religious Party)

Menachem Begin

David Ben-Gurion

Eliezer Ben-Yehuda

Hugo Bergmann (1883–1975) born in Austria-Hungary, immigrated to Palestine in 1920

Max Bodenheimer

Dov Ber Borochov

Max Brod

Abba Eban

Albert Einstein, scientist who supported the Zionist movement. Albert Einstein's political views#Zionism

Israel Eldad

Romana Goodman

Senta Josephtal

Emma Levine-Talmi

Paul Friedmann

Nahum Goldmann

Aaron David Gordon

Uri Zvi Greenberg

Dov Gruner

Ahad Ha'am

Theodor Herzl, founding father of modern political Zionist movement

Arthur Hertzberg

Moses Hess

Hannah Szenes

Zeev Jabotinsky, publicist, leader of Revisionist Zionism

Zvi Hirsch Kalischer, one of Zionism's earliest pioneers in Germany.

Berl Katznelson

Abraham Isaac Kook, pro-Zionist first pre-state Chief Rabbi

Haviva Reik

Moshe Leib Lilienblum

Golda Meir

Samuel Mohilever

Max Nordau

Erna Patak (1871–1955), Austrian social worker and women's activist

Leon Pinsker

Ruth Popkin, led Hadassah and the Jewish National Fund

Isaac Rülf

Arthur Ruppin

Pinhas Rutenberg

Solomon Schechter, spokesman for Zionism within Conservative Judaism

Moshe Sharett

Abraham Stern

Nahum Syrkin

Henrietta Szold, Zionist leader and founder of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America

Bernice Tannenbaum, activist with Hadassah

Joseph Trumpeldor

Menahem Ussishkin

Chaim Weizmann

Felix Weltsch

Robert Weltsch

Orde Wingate, non-Jewish British army officer who trained the Haganah

L. L. Zamenhof

Israel Zangwill

A. L. Zissu

Baruch Zuckerman (1887–1970), American-Israeli Zionist, Yad Vashem proponent

Sarah Aaronsohn

Rachel Cohen-Kagan

Shulamit Bat-Dori

Mordechai Bentov

Shulamit Goldstein

List of fascist movements by country G–M

A list of political parties, organizations, and movements adhering to various forms of fascist ideology, part of the list of fascist movements by country.

List of fascist movements by country N–T

A list of political parties, organizations, and movements adhering to various forms of fascist ideology, part of the list of fascist movements by country.

Revisionist Maximalism

Revisionist Maximalism was a short-lived movement and Jewish fascist ideology which was part of the Brit HaBirionim faction of the Zionist Revisionist Movement (ZRM) created by Abba Ahimeir.

Training School for Betar Instructors

The Training School for Betar Instructors (or Betar 'madricihim,' also often translated as 'youth guides' or 'youth leaders') was founded in Tel Aviv in 1928 as a military academy for revisionist youth in British Mandatory Palestine.

Jeremiah Halpern, an experienced activist who had been involved in the Haganah in 1920 and had served Betar in many capacities, was the first director of the School. Halpern had worked with Moshe Rosenberg since the 20s in the development of Betar's military programmes and together they conceived of a school for Betar madrichim. Shortly after becoming director Halpern recruited the revolutionary Zionist Abba Ahimeir as an instructor of the nationalist youth and together they led the School in an increasingly radical direction in which military training was viewed as a means of establishing the military wing of a national liberation movement.Under the leadership of Halpern (and later of Ahimeir) the 24 cadets took the lead in organizing demonstrative activities outside Betar, which notably included taking the initiative in the march to the Western Wall in August 1929. The demonstration was later identified as the proximal cause of the 1929 Palestine riots by the Shaw Commission.Halpern's cadets formed the nucleus for the right-wing Maximalist tendency in Revisionism and the activities of Halpern and Ahimeir contributed to the evolution of the Irgun and to the support of Revisionist Maximalism within Betar.

Uri Zvi Greenberg

Uri Zvi Greenberg (Hebrew: אוּרִי צְבִי גְּרִינְבֵּרְג; September 22, 1896 – May 8, 1981) was an acclaimed Israeli poet and journalist who wrote in Yiddish and Hebrew.

Ya'akov Ahimeir

Ya'akov Ahimeir (Hebrew: יעקב אחימאיר‎; born July 21, 1938), is a senior Israeli journalist, and a television and radio personality.

Yosef Ahimeir

Yosef "Yossi" Ahimeir (Hebrew: יוסף "יוסי" אחימאיר, born 19 May 1943) is an Israeli journalist and former politician, chief editor of the Hebrew ideological quarterly - "Ha-Umma". Since April 2005 he is also the director-general of the Jabotinsky Institute in Israel. Today, Ahimeir is member of the directorate of Yad Vashem and of International Board of Governors of the Ariel University Center of Samaria.

Ze'ev Aleksandrowicz

Ze'ev (Wilhelm) Aleksandrowicz (Hebrew: 'זאב אלכסנדרוביץ) (April 7, 1905 – January 5, 1992) was an Israeli photographer. He is mostly known for his work in Palestine and Japan, during the first half of the 1930s.

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