Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Begin Center Bulletin, Vol. 3 Issue 13

Menachem Begin
Heritage Center, Jerusalem
Volume 3, Issue 13
January 10, 2007

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 249,858

Well, we have made it. By the time this bulletin reaches you, dear reader, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center number of visitors will have passed 250,000

The Menachem Begin Heritage Center has become one of the most popular, "MUST" attractions in the capital city. Visitors from abroad reserve their time slot weeks in advance from wherever they are. The reservation system is becoming more and more sophisticated. The translation system is already more and more developed. Groups have gone into the museum listening to the English translation, while others listen to the Russian and others still to French or Spanish. There are more ideas for improvement and advancement.

"Elitzur" Memorial Lecture: 23 January

Two weeks ahead of the event, reservations are already being made by persons wanting to attend the "Elitzur" Friedman Memorial Lecture on Heroism to be given this year by Dr. Ido Netanyahu, brother of former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and of the late Yoni, who was killed in the Entebbe Rescue in 1976.

The Memorial lecture coincides with the publication and launch of a new substantial book about Yoni by Dr. Netanyahu, who will discuss his brother, his deed and the Entebbe Operation.

The Blog

Not to be confused with the science fiction movie, The Blob, the Begin Center Blog is an additional way for the community to find out about the activities of the Begin Center. The blog was accessible last week via this news bulletin to view pictures about the scholarship awards. The blog is being posted in both Hebrew and English and as events unfold the information and pictures are posted. Please view the English site at: Or to view the Hebrew site:

In the Archives…

A Minute of a Herut Party Council Meeting on 17 July 1978 was recently discovered in the archives of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. It contains a substantial extract from a speech given on that occasion by the head of the party, Menachem Begin, who was already the Prime Minister of Israel.

In his speech, Menachem Begin said:

We can visualize the courtroom, the judges, the prosecutor and the empty defense
table because there is no defense the accused has given up the court- appointed
defender knowing that the words said by the defense will be a hollow echo of the
words of the prosecutor. The accused stands there isolated for 16 months in which he has no connection with his family, with no visit of the defense attorney and with no connection to the outside world. Day after day, night after night, he is interrogated with only one demand, "Give us your confession. Confess you are a traitor in your homeland working for the United States. Proof - your best friends told us that you were connected to the CIA and the KGB is never wrong. We tell you that you are guilty, we know everything about you. Do you want us also to put in prison your mother and arrest your brother? You are still a young man, talented, a scholar, a wonderful future in front of you. Just confess and you will be free."

This is going on night after night for 16 months, and this man doesn't break, doesn't weaken and he scorns his interrogators and their truth. He says to them. "I wasn't a spy…you signed the Helsinki Agreement and promised to give freedom of speech and thought. I educated myself and others to know our ancient language, Hebrew. I studied the love of Israel. And my will, like others, is to return to the historical
homeland of the People of Israel."

A lonely man stands there, all around him a jeering audience, applauding the sentence, enjoying the suffering, a rare mass sadism, in front of his judges who send him to a place knowing what will happen to him there. And in that situation the man stands and says "Although for many years I have been apart from my wife and family. Next Year in Jerusalem!" And we will say "Amen and amen." And who is this brave man? One of the bravest people that ever stood for justice and liberty, Natan

In Memoriam

We deeply regret to record the death of Mrs. Rivka Burg, the widow of the late religious leader, Dr. Yosef Burg, who was a member of Menachem Begin's governments and subsequently a member of the International Board of the Begin Heritage Foundation. Mrs. Burg's family, the Slonims, were victims of the Arab terror attack in Hebron in 1929. She survived and raised a family in Jerusalem. Her son, Avrom, was the Speaker of the Knesset and the head of the Jewish Agency.


Mr. Barry Zalmanowitz, his wife Judge June Zalmanowitz, and their daughters Anna and Becca visited the Begin Museum and other features of the Begin Center last week. The family is from Edmonton, Canada. Mr. Zalmanowitz is the uncle of Dr. Jay and Sharon Wohlgelernter of Jerusalem. They enjoyed the visit very much.

* * * * *

Moshe Nir, his wife, Dvora, and members of their family from Israel and abroad spent several hours in the Begin Center last week and were most impressed by what they saw. Mr. Nir was on the leadership of the Betar movement of Israel from even before the establishment of the State and was a high-ranking official in the Kupat Cholim Leumit until his retirement.

* * * * *

Mr. Jonathan Egdes of Johannesburg and his son Eitan visited the Center and the museum on Sunday. Jonathan's late father, Morrie Egdes, was the head of Betar in South Africa, a Machal volunteer in the war of Independence and a prominent businessman in the Johannesburg area.

* * * * *

Prof. Aage Jasnes from Oslo visited the Begin Museum accompanied by associates from Israel and Norway. He was most impressed by all he saw and heard and indicated that he would come back for a further visit at an early date.

Visitor Comments:
* A most emotional and outstanding few hours telling the life story of a very dedicated Jew. – Netanya
* A wonderful story very well told. Kol HaKavod! – Sydney, Australia