Jewish Self-Defense: From the Maccabes to Modern Israel
Trumpeldor Tel Aviv Cemetery
If you want to know about the history of a place, go to the cemetery. In Paris and Rome the cemeteries are major tourist attractions, and people have heard about going to the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in Meron. But you probably have not heard about the Trumpeldor Cemetery in Tel Aviv which you see here behind me. First we have to realize who Trumpeldor was. Joseph Trumpeldor was a heroic fighter and was one of the first leaders in Israel to organize Jewish self-defense against the attacks of the local Arabs. When WWI broke out he led a group who wished to serve in the British army against the ruling Turks. They were not allowed to serve and formed the Zion Mule Core to bring supplies and ammunition to the soldiers, and they served with bravery. Finally in 1917 they were allowed to serve in the British Legion. This was the first Jewish army to exist since the Khazar kingdom converted to Judaism in the 8th century. Trumpeldor died defending the early Jewish towns and farms, and he came to be known as a model for Jewish dedication, pride and courage for the Jewish community in Palestine and later for the Jewish State. A number of the leaders of the Zionist movement are buried here, including Max Nordau, writer Nachum Haiim Bialik and Ahad Haam. Trumpeldor was not buried here, but the cemetery took on the name of the street which is named after him.