Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Center Bulletin - Volume 3, Issue 15

Menachem Begin
Heritage Center, Jerusalem
Volume 3, Issue 15
January 24, 2007

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 253,465

Yitzhak Navon, 5th President of Israel,
Visits the Center for the 6th PM of Israel

President Yitzhak Navon, Israel's fifth President and his son Ophir, visited the Menachem Begin Heritage Center on Friday. They were received, briefed and accompanied on the tour of the museum and other facilities of the building by Herzl Makov the Director General.
President Navon was very impressed by the building and asked many questions about its development. He saw the Beit Midrash Menachem, the synagogue which is the basis for the Rohr Family Parashat HaShavua program and they saw the Reuben Hecht auditorium and were informed about the Junior Knesset program.
At various stages during his tour in the museum, where President Navon appears with Prime Minister Begin, there was an animated discussion as he recalled the episode and the events surrounding it.
At the conclusion of their tour, President Navon wrote the following message in the Visitors' Book:
A center rich in content and wonderful in form. A riveting project worthy of a magnificent personality. Begin's life story is intertwined with the chronicle of the nation's struggles, presenting his endeavors, his burning faith and his acts in a tangible and informative way. Thanks to those who initiated the project and to those who direct it. A special thanks to Herzl Makov for his informative explanations. With deep gratitude, Yitzchak Navon

The 2nd Annual "Elitzur" Memorial Lecture

The Reuben Hecht Auditorium of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center and an overflow area was filled to capacity for the 2nd annual "Elitzur" Memorial Lecture. In introducing the evening, the Chairman, Herzl Makov, Director General of the Begin Center and Harry Hurwitz, Head of the Center, paid tribute to the family of "Elitzur" Izchak Friedman for sponsoring this annual lecture thus keeping alive the tradition of heroism of Irgun fighters and leaders as an example for future generations.
He described "Elitzur" as a real "Unknown Soldier" as was Yoni Netanyahu, who served with great distinction in Israel's Special Commando unit, and rose, meteor-like, to international fame after the Entebbe Rescue operation.
That was the subject of a long, detailed lecture by Dr. Ido Netanyahu whose new book of nearly 800 pages has just been published by Yediot Ahronot. Dr. Netanyahu based his book on documents and interviews which captured the atmosphere and spirit of the time. He was critical of distortion in the media both about the actions of Yoni and about his own later writings about Entebbe, which he sought to clarify and to establish the historic truth.
Dr. Jonathan Friedman gave a brief introduction to the memorial lecture in honor of his father and Mr. Dov Eichenwald of the Yediot Book Publishing Division said it was a great honor for them to publish this important book.
Present in the audience were Prof. BenZion Netanyahu, the famous historian, and other member of the Netanyahu family, and members and friends of the Friedman Family. Prof. Moshe Arens, his wife Muriel and some guests were also in the audience.

Junior Knesset Fills the Begin Center

Last week, 260 students of Daphna Junior High in Kiryat Bialik, a suburb of Haifa, came to the Begin Center in Jerusalem to complete their semester-long Junior Knesset program.
After learning about the process of legislation, including preparation and the passing of a law and understanding the principles of debate and parliamentarism, the participants came to the Begin Center to engage in a "Knesset session" in which they debate and pass a law. This session was a simulation on the topic of freedom of the press.
The youngsters were well-prepared and enthusiastic throughout the process. During the committee discussions they were very animated and deeply involved. They were very passionate about the topic which encouraged lively debate in the Knesset session.

Debate Finals

Dozens of young representatives of schools participated in debates under the auspices of Sia'h vaSig—The Israel Debating Society whose leaders, Asher Wyle and Ann Kirson Swersky, were present and judged the debating.
The best debaters will participate in further stages of national competition and winners will go on to represent Israel in English debating in South Africa for the World Schools Individual Debating Championship, in Seoul, South Korea for the World Schools Debating Championship and for places on teams in other competitions world-wide.

AIPAC Delegation Tours the Center

Part of a delegation from AIPAC, which was visiting Israel, came to the Menachem Begin Heritage Center last Thursday. They were received by the Head of the Center, Harry Hurwitz, who briefed them on the structure of the building and its various features and accompanied them through the museum.
It appeared from their remarks that the participants found the tour most interesting and said they would advise their colleagues and members of their community to visit the Center next time they are in Israel.

On Friday, Herzl Makov met with a group of journalists who were in Israel as guests of AIPAC. He spoke to them about Begin and answered questions about the current situation.

In Memoriam

We deeply regret to record the death at the beginning of this week of Bella Kass, the mother of Danny Kass who was on the Menachem Begin Heritage Center Building Committee. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to Danny, his sister Naomi, his brother Marty, and all their families. Bella and her husband Boris, who predeceased her, grew up in Latvia and were active in the Zionist youth movements and the Jewish community. As a young woman, she worked on the staff of Ze'ev Jabotinsky after the founding of the World Betar Movement. They immigrated to Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) where they raised their family and were leaders of the Jewish community. Bella Kass had been ill the last few years, but made the effort to visit the Begin Center with Danny and his wife about a year ago. She was very moved by what she saw and heard.


Rabbi Jay Abrams, who heads a rabbinic education institution in Jerusalem visited the Center last week and met with the head of the Center after touring the museum
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Mrs. Lynn Himelstein of Indianapolis, Indiana, and her daughter Allyson came to the Begin Center accompanied by Mr. David Zwebner who is on the Board of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation. They were most impressed by the whole concept, structure and presentation of the Center.

Visitor Comments:
v To the museum team, well done! Congratulations to the planners of the Center. It is a masterpiece, magnificent. You can't describe the personality of Menachem Begin better than that. – Ramat HaSharon, Israel
v The visit here was inspiring and sent chills down our spines. No doubt that he was a great, unique man! One of the greatest sons of all the generations. May his memory be blessed and be chiseled on our hearts forever. – in the name of the Tax and Customs Office of Jerusalem, Israel
v The power of Vision. May we know how to use it for the small things and the big things in our lives – Israel