How much would you pay for a Zionist icon’s passport? The question will be answered next month when J. Greenstein & Company, an auction house specializing in antique Judaica items, takes bids for the passport of Ze’ev Jabotinsky.
Born in Russia, Jabotinsky (1880-1940) founded a movement known as Revisionist Zionism and the Irgun, the Jewish underground militia in British Mandatory Palestine. His passport will be auctioned off June 13 in Cedarhurst, N.Y.
Historian Dr. Rafael Medoff has written for JNS.org that while Jabotinsky “was arguably the most controversial Zionist leader of his era” and was branded a racist, the Zionist pioneer actually had an anti-racist vision of a Jewish state in which the Arab minority “would have full civil, political, and cultural rights, including representation in parliament, and both Arabic and Hebrew would be official languages.” Further, Jabotinsky’s followers stood up for black civil rights in the U.S. and in apartheid-era South Africa, according to Medoff.
Jabotinsky’s passport will be the latest high-profile item auctioned off by J. Greenstein & Company, which was founded in 2004 by Judaica expert Jonathan Greenstein. The auction house has previously sold Sammy Davis Jr.’s personal menorah, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach’s piano and Professor Alan Dershowitz’s Judaica collection.