Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Center Bulletin, Volume 4, Issue 2

Volume 4, Issue 2
October 24, 2007

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 332,911

30th Anniversary of Sadat's Visit

The 30th anniversary of the dramatic day in modern Israel history is approaching. It is the day the President of Egypt Anwar Sadat arrived in Jerusalem for his remarkable visit and talks with Prime Minister Menachem Begin. It was an unprecedented event which took the country—and later the world—by storm. The visit led to serious discussions about a Peace Treaty between the two countries that had fought five wars. The opening paragraph of the Treaty declared in the termination of the state of war. The visit was a breakthrough and a turning point in the Middle East.

The Menachem Begin Heritage Center has initiated world-wide events to mark the occasion and here in Jerusalem an exhibition will be opened on Sunday 18 November at the Begin Center.

The following day, special events will be held with the directorate and management of the Kind David Hotel where President Sadat was a very welcome guest and many of the talks with Prime Minister Begin took place.

Details of both these events will be published in the next Bulletin.

90th Anniversary of the Balfour Declaration

Next Friday, 2 November, it will be 90 years since the Balfour Declaration was issued to Lord Rothschild on behalf of the Jewish People.

When Menachem Begin paid an official State visit to London, he was taken to the room in the Foreign Office where Lord Balfour, the Foreign Secretary of Britain in 1917, wrote the famous declaration. Begin was very touched by the moment even though he had led the fight against the British for five years to end their mandate over Palestine.

Much later, he was asked by his friend Dr. Reuben Hecht of Haifa to write on the ramifications and relevance of the Balfour Declaration. Begin wrote that over the years the British had distorted the Balfour Declaration and obstructed the fulfillment of its intentions, "resulting in serious consequences for the Jewish People."

"The Balfour Declaration was doubtless a turning point in the history of the Jewish People. The document was published for various reasons, but over the years, the British falsified its contents, especially by giving it an untrue interpretation based on the phrase 'in Eretz Israel' instead of 'in Eretz Israel as the national home for the Jewish people.'

Against this background, difficult relations developed regarding the declaration between the government of Britain and ourselves until…the State of Israel was established.

We remember the British affectionately for the publication of the Balfour Declaration. We shall also remember…the severe results concerning the Jewish people of the falsification of its contents in the days when millions of Jews cried out for the realization of its promise. They cried in vain.

One must remember the good of the original intention as well as the severity of the closing of the gates of our homeland."

Book Launched About Latrun

The book The Days of Latrun by Capt. Dr. Tal Misgav, head of the History Department of the Border Guards, was launched last week at the Begin Center. Throughout the evening in the full Reuben Hecht Auditorium, the audience heard stories of many of the most famous detainees at the Latrun Detention Camp, including Moshe Sharett, the second Prime Minister of Israel; Dov Gruner, one of the Gallows Martyrs; David Remez, a Minister of Education; Ya'acov Agam, the artist; and Dr. Wolfgang Von Weisel, a leader in the Revisionist movement.< SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> This is one of the few events in the history of the State in which stories about the Latrun detention camp were told. The speakers all emphasized that Latrun was a breeding ground for cooperation between the Underground groups and this cooperation carried over to the early years of the State. The evening opened with remarks by Herzl Makov, Chairman of the Begin Center; Gen. Israel Yitzhak, Cmdr. of the Boarder Guards; Dr. Ya'acov Hadani, Head of Livshitz College; and Yossi Feldman, Director, Society for the Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites. Speakers that evenin g were: Prof. Alon Kadish of the History Dept. of Hebrew University and the History Dept. of the IDF; Prof. Aviva Halomish of the History Dept. of the Open University; and Moshe Brandwein, a former prisoner of the camp at Latrun.

Parashat HaShavua Overflows

The popular Parashat Hashavua program sponsored by the Rohr family of New York and Florida has resumed its work to full capacity with the weekly lecture given by Dr. Micha Goodman. Last week, close to 500 persons attended the lecture—religious and secular; young and older; male and female. This group of attendees represents one of the most successful Parashat Hashavua study groups in the country.


Rose Lax, a prominent and devoted supporter of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, and members of her family from Israel and abroad visited the Begin Center and met for a discussion on future plans with Harry Hurwitz, Founder and President. Several years ago she had contributed signif icantly to the Center and especially for naming after her father the section in the Museum highlighting Vilnius (Vilna) and featuring the NKVD interrogation of Menachem Begin.

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Harry Posin, who is a well-known supporter of the Begin Heritage Center and his friend Richard Finkelstein (both from Florida, USA) visited the Begin Museum and were briefed and updated by Harry Hurwitz and Herzl Makov. Harry Posin and his wife Lisa are among the Founders of the Center.

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Malvyn Benjamin, an active Begin supporter from London, visited the Begin Center and held discussions with Harry Hurwitz as well as with his friend Yisrael Medad who had been a Shaliach in London some years back.