Published by The Freeman Center
The Maccabean Online
Political Analysis and Commentary
The Death of of Mentor
by Yisrael Medad
4 Iyar 5768, 5/9/2008
Shmuel Katz has passed away.
Born in South Africa in December 1914, he was in his 94th year. He was a Betari, a confidant of Ze\'ev Jabotinsky, a member of the High Command of the Irgun, elected to the first Knesset, Zionist thinker, author and ideologue. He had been in an old-age home for the past few years and just two months ago, underwent an operation caused by blood circulatory problems and then developed pulmanory difficulties.
He published several books, notably "Battleground" and "Lone Wolf" (a biography of Jabotinsky). He wrote columns in the Jerusalem Post and Ma\'ariv for years. In fact, he asked me to begin working on a second anthology (I edited the first one, "Battletruth") that would cover the years 1982-2008. I had collected some 450 articles but I didn\'t manage to get through them on a re-reading so as to present him with my selection.
I had known Moekie for over 35 years. His work in the framework of the Land of Israel Movement was crucial to the retention of Judea, Samaria and Gaza and the revenant efforts that proved successful. His fight with Menachem Begin over the autonomy plan was also a major contribution to Jewish rights in the Jewish homeland.
His couch at his old apartment at 155 Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv was my bed on many occasions. But more importantly, his sagacious advice, his amazing insight, his complete and total determination and commitment to Israel\'s security, its standing in the world and his relentless criticizing of the foibles of the great will sorely be missed.
December 9, 1914 - May 9, 2008
A visit last year:-
Photos from his life:
In Warsaw, 1937 with Hillel Kook (r) and Chaim Lubinsky (l):
In Paris, 1946, on an Irgun mission:
At Menachem Begin\'s visit to the Irgun in Jerusalem, August 1948. Moekie, last commander of the Jerusalem Irgun unit is third from left and Begin is to the right:
Here he is at a press conference announcing the disbandment of the Irgun, Jerusalem, September 21, 1948 (Yitzhak Avinoam (c), Yosef Leizrowitz (l))
Shmuel Katz dies at 93
Shmuel Katz, one of the last remaining links to the Zionist Revisionist icon, Ze\'ev Jabotinsky, and himself a towering figure and a mighty pen of the Zionist Right, died in the early hours of Friday morning, soon after Yom Ha\'atzmaut, at Tel Aviv\'s Ichilov Hospital. He was 93.
Well over a hundred people attended the funeral Sunday afternoon at the Hayarkon Cemetery in Petah Tikva.
Among the mourners were Likud Party chair and opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu, former defense minister Moshe Arens, former MK Uzi Landau, former Knesset Speaker, MK Ruby Rivlin, Jabotinsky Institute director Yossi Achimeir and MK Gideon Sa`ar.
Katz was born in South Africa in 1914 and first came to Israel in 1936, joining the Irgun.
Jabotinsky sent him to London in 1939 to represent the Revisionist Zionist position. He soon found himself virtually stranded after Jabotinsky died suddenly in upstate New York in 1940. Katz subsequently made a living as a journalist working for a number of London newspapers while also founding a Zionist Revisionist weekly.
In 1946 he managed to return to Palestine and joined the Irgun High Command. He was the movement\'s de facto foreign minister and its last Jerusalem-area commander prior to statehood.
Katz was elected to the First Knesset on the Herut list. He is believed to have been the last surviving member of that First Knesset. A Knesset honor guard placed a wreathe on his grave.
Highly principled and often uncompromising, he quit politics and established a publishing house.
After the Six Day War he became a leader of the Land of Israel movement. When the Likud Party won the 1977 elections and broke Labor\'s stranglehold on Israeli politics, Menachem Begin asked Katz to serve as his adviser on information, tasked with explaining the new government\'s position to a hostile media and an unfriendly Carter administration.
But Katz soon came to feel that Begin was too accommodating in the face of US pressure and in January 1978 left the premier over his peace negotiations with Egypt.
Katz opposed the notion of land for peace, championing the formula of peace for peace.
A prolific writer, essayist and historian, Katz had a regular column in The Jerusalem Post for many years and continued to publish occasional op-eds until very recently. Among his most important books are Lone Wolf: A Biography of Vladimir Jabotinsky; Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine; and The Aaronsohn Saga about the Nili spy ring, whose English edition was published late last year by Gefen.
Though a fierce ideologue, Katz was soft spoken, with a twinkle in his eye and a winning self-deprecating humor. As recently as several weeks ago, he was planning a new series of short op-eds for the Post in opposition to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert\'s policies.
Katz is survived by his son Yuval who recited the kaddish memorial prayer and nephew Dr. Leonard Bliden who delivered a moving eulogy.