Members of the Betar movement went on an annual trip to Riga, the capital of Latvia, this year marking the 100th birthday of the organization. The Betar movement was founded by Ze'ev Jabotinsky in Latvia before he moved to Mandatory Palestine. The Betar movement is the founding movement of the entire nationalistic camp and ideology in Israel; before Betar, Zionism was largely constructed of factions who identified with socialism and were deeply impacted by communist ideals.
The person leading the journey is Yigal Brand, Director General of World Betar. The journey passed through landmarks in Jewish and Betar history throughout Latvia. Dozens of Betar members toured the old city of Riga and discovered the deep-rooted connection of Diaspora Judaism to the Baltic state.
שירת התקווה בוילנא בירת ליטא, מול לוחית הזיכרון למנחם בגין על קיר כלא לוקישקי בו נכלא בין השנים 40-41@BrandYigal pic.twitter.com/mw0OtaZhWC— תנועת בית"ר העולמית (@BetarWorld) May 2, 2023
The participants in the trip also attended the Betar exhibition and historical findings of the Betar movement that were found and revealed for the first time during recent excavations. The findings were hidden in a suitcase that was buried in 1940 in the forests of Latvia and contained dozens of Betar flags and hundreds of documents that revealed the activity and scope of the Betar movement in Latvia in general and in Europe as a whole. The Betar trip traveled from Latvia to Lithuania, following the, now largely extinct, Jewish life there. Among other things, they visited the prison where Menachem Begin, a student of Jabotinsky and Prime Minister of Israel, was held and the Gaon from Vilna’s grave.
A Betar veteran dons his uniform at memorial for Israel Founding Father Ze’ev Jabotinsky Ideological godfather to Israel’s @Likud_Party on 82nd anniversary of his death. Menachem Begin was his successor Photo by Yosef Mizrahi/TPS#TPS_One_Photo_a_Day #Israel #LikudParty pic.twitter.com/7gcGfV8yks— TPS - Israel's News Agency (@TPS_News_co_il) July 28, 2022
Yigal Brand, head of the global Betar movement said: "Ze'ev Jabotinsky, the founder of the Betar leadership and creator of the national camp, founded in Riga the most important Zionist revolution in the last 100 years. The suitcase that was found and revealed to the public in recent days contains the entire ideological base of the global Betar movement and from there the base of the entire national camp. We are proud to lead a delegation here that traces his legacy in the place where it all began. The Betar movement that Jabotinsky founded serves, then and today, as a beacon of the entire Zionist enterprise wherever it may be."
1940's Betar Jabotinsky Menorah Large Rare Patch Badge Jewish Judaica Betar https://t.co/XIR5Lpu0RK eBay pic.twitter.com/mgtrYOiQt8— Exonumia (@and_railways) February 19, 2023
The Betar movement, and its Revisionist Zionism ideals, are the guiding principles of many Israeli politicians who lean to the right, including Benjamin Netanyahu and the entire Likud party. Its ideology eventually spread, with most Israeli schools today presenting the movement as a staple and guiding principle in modern-day Zionism.