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Jabotinsky’s Samson:
The Politics of Jewish Independence

Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky (1880-1940) gave up a career as a celebrated European journalist, poet, and philosopher to lead the Revisionist Zionist movement and to found the Jewish Legion of the British army, the first all-Jewish fighting force to see action in many centuries. His novel, Samson, written in 1926, graphically recounts the strange story of that most tragic and unbiblical of biblical heroes, and presents it as a parable for the struggle of modern Zionism. Made into a Hollywood film in 1949, Samson has lost none of its force and relevance today. We will discuss the book’s insights into the political teaching of the Bible, its statement of the problem of Jewish political and military power, and its dramatic wrestling with the seductions of pagan love and tragic heroism.