What do we teach?
Betar has a strong focus on ethical values together with Zionist ideals in a time of growing apathy. Below are Betar’s central historical principles. These principles are still fundamental to our operations and curriculum today, and are interpreted to suit the time and the age of the chanichim for which the activity is being run.
First and foremost, Betar is a Zionist youth movement, meaning that we firmly believe in the self determination of the Jewish Nation in our historical homeland, the Land of Israel.
Betar’s ideology then follows with two core universal values which are:
Hadar, the idea that respect for one’s self and all other people is absolutely essential, and
Tagar, the notion that we should stand up for what we believe in. Tagar roughly translates to tenacity and opposes arm-chair Zionism – being the type of Zionism which lacks true actualisation of one’s beliefs.
These are the foundations of Betar’s ideology but this is just a small part of our culture and beliefs. The diverse writings of Jabotinsky and other seminal figures in Betar’s history act as regular sources of debate and inspiration. We have a rich body of knowledge which we draw on to trigger the ethical and conceptual growth of our chanichim and movement.
Other topics and principles that we endeavour to include in our activities are: kef (all-round fun and games), consent, creativity, political activism, environmental activism, youth-culture and counterculture, feminism, leadership skills, cultural awareness, and good mental health practices.
Our Core Principals
Our Mission Statement
The objective of Betar Australia Inc. is to create the ideal type of Jew to live in and maintain the state of Israel. Betar achieves this is as a Zionist Youth Movement, originating from the Revisionist Zionist Movement, by providing a framework for the education of Jewish children in Zionism, Judaism and Betar Ideology.”The Book of Betar
This mission statement can be summarised into 3 main points
- The mission of Betar is to create the ideal Jew for the state of Israel
- This Jew has a strong sense of national identity and connection to the Jewish nation.
- This Jew has the skills and knowledge that is required to better serve Israel.
While our movement serves many varied purposes across all three of our Australian maozim, we are all united under the wide-ranging ideological principles of Betar. In the words of Jabotinsky himself:
The Betar worldview…is in a constant process of creation at the hands of life itself, and through the questions which constantly arise through the ongoing development of the movement… The masses of Betarim and their leaders can outline here only those basic foundations [of our ideology]…for the rest: he must suffice by giving expression to his hopes: to what he feels and foresees through ongoing contact with Betari commitment and enthusiasm.”The Idea of Betar, 1934
To achieve our goal of strengthening Israel, Betar Australia creates a comfortable accepting atmosphere where we openly discuss Israel and the Betar Ideology. Israel programs are encouraged, as is Aliyah. Once in Israel, Betarim are empowered to do whatever “the nation needs in order to better… build” and sustain the homeland of the Jewish Nation. With a pioneering spirit a Betari will endeavour to continue their activism by impacting the State of Israel in ways that will progress it towards what they believe the Jewish State should be.
Written by Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Shir Betar contains three verses, poetically describing the key elements of the Betar ideology.
Liberal Democratic Values in Betar’s Administration
Betar strongly believes in liberalism and in the innate value of each individual, as Jabotinsky said, “In the beginning, G-d created the individual, a king who is equal among kings”. Thus, substantive democracy rules within Betar Australia’s state and federal administrations. All tafkidim (leadership roles) within the body of madrichim are elected by secret ballot to form each mazkirut and federal hanhaga (leadership committee). If consensus cannot be reached on a certain decision of the movement within these committees then it is put to a vote.
Twice a year all madrichim (leaders) of the movement convene at kinnus (conference) where we discuss, debate and vote upon resolutions to the Betar Australia Constitution, Policies and Procedures, and the Movement’s Stances and Acknowledgements.
Betar ascribes to the stream of Zionism known as Revisionist Zionism. This form of Zionism was developed by Jabotinksy and others throughout the 1920s and 1930s, and became an opposition to the mainstream form of Zionism at the time, which was led by Chaim Weizmann in the World Zionist Organisation. It grew out of disillusionment with the current form of political Zionism and was named Revisionist Zionism as it was a return, a revision, to the political Zionism of Theodore Herzl.
There are several main tenets of Revisionist Zionism: