Joseph Trumpeldor was a Jewish fighter. A socialist Zionist leader and a pioneer> His life, his heroism and his death in the Battle of Tel Hai made him a Zionist model and a national hero.
He was the first Jewish officer in the Russian army and he served in the Russia-Japan War in 1905. There he was injured and his arm was amputated.He came to Israel in 1912 and worked as a farmer. In World War I, he refused to accept Ottoman citizenship and was exiled to Alexandria, Egypt. He, together with Ze’ev Jabotinsky and others, founded the Gdud HaIvri during World War I. He took part in the Gallipoli Campaign as the second in command of the “Zion Mule Corps”. After the war, he returned to Russia where he was one of the founders of Hahalutz. In 1919, he returned to the Land of Israel. He was killed in the Battle of Tel Hai on March1, 1920.
“If war breaks out in the Land of Israel, they will surely make me a commander even though I am willing to serve there as a simple soldier. There, we will be in our home, not with strangers…”
“I believe the day will come, I will be tired and exhausted; I will look on my fields happily, in my land. And no one will say to me, “Go, despicable one; you don’t belong in this land. And if someone says that to me, I will defend my fields and my rights with my sword. And if I die in battle, I will be happy. I will know what I died for.”
A letter that he wrote to his brother. Shmuel 1911