Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Center Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 3

Volume 4, Issue 3
October 31, 2007

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 335,704

Exhibition Opening Nov. 18: "No More War"

The Foreign Minister of Israel, Tzipi Livni, will be the main speaker at the opening of an exhibition on Sunday, 18 November, to mark 30 years after the historic visit to Jerusalem of President Anwar Sadat of Egypt at the invitation of Prime Minister Menachem Begin. The exhibition tells the story of that visit and various other milestones in the Peace process which led to the signing of a Peace Tre aty between the two countries.

The Ambassador of Egypt, His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Assem Ibrahim, will address the gathering. The proceedings will be introduced by Zvi Harry Hurwitz, the Founder and President of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation and the Master of Ceremonies will be Herzl Makov, Chairman of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center.

Members of the Diplomatic Corps, personnel of the Foreign Office, Members of the Knesset and other Israel dignitaries are expected to attend this rare occasion. Admission will be by invitation only—it is not open to the public.

The following day, November 19, the King David Hotel management, in conjunction with the Menachem Begin Heritage Center will host an event of nostalgia for those people who participated in various events during Sadat's visit. He stayed at the King David Hotel, had talks with the Prime Minister there and attended a festive dinner and other formal events at the hotel. This event too is closed to the public.

President Ephraim Katzir, who was in office at the time, has indicated his desire and readiness to be present.

"Our World View and Our National Outlook"

The famous booklet expressing Menachem Begin's Basic Outlines of Our World View and Our National Outlook, which has been translated, for the first time into English, will appear within a week.

The text was first published in Hebrew in 1951 and has been out of print for many years. A copy has been on display in the Begin Museum and has aroused much interest. The heads of the Center announced that they would publish an English version at an early opportunity. This was made possible by a donation from Mr. and Mrs. Paul Wallach of Flushing, NY. The booklet will be distributed to the VIP and academic circles in Israel and abroad and will be on sale at the souvenir store at the Begin Center.

I.G.F. Meet with the Prime Minister

The Israel Government Fellows (IGF) program, a new MASA—an initiative of the Prime Minister's Office and the Jewish Agency—project that is run by the Begin Center, received a boost this week when the 19 Fellows from six countries met with members of the government and the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency and reported on their satisfying experience in their internships in various government offices. On Monday, they were present at the meeting of the Coordinating Committee (between the government and the Jewish Agency) where they were welcomed by the Prime Minister Eh ud Olmert and Chairman of the Jewish Agency Ze'ev Bielsky.

Several hours later a committee of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency visited the Menachem Begin Heritage Center where they were received and welcomed by Harry Hurwitz, the Founder and President, who told them about the Menachem Begin Commemoration Project. He warmly welcomed Mr. Shoel Silver, the newly-elected Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee of the Jewish Agency and wished him grea t success in this important position. Hurwitz said that Silver's parents, Nathan and Lily, were among the founders of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. Herzl Makov afterwards spoke about future programs and the group continued on to visit the museum.

In Memoriam

We deeply regret to record the death of Mrs. Charlotte Rohr of New York and Florida and extend our heartfelt sympathies to her husband Sami, son George and daughter-in-law Pamela, and grandchildren.

The funeral took place at the Mt. of Olives cemetery followed by shiva first in Israel, then in Florida and New York.

The Rohr family is closely connected with the Menachem Begin Heritage Center where they are funding the Rohr Family Parashat HaShavua programs. Last week's lecture, which was attended by 450 people, was dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Charolotte Rohr.

* * *

Menachem Malatsky, a high-ranking officer of the Irgun who had special assignments in the Haifa and Netanya areas and participated in major Irgun operations, passed away last week on the very day when there was a commemoration at the former Acre Prison for the Underground fighters who were executed by the British. He was in the Acre jail at the time of the Great Escape and was one of those who escaped.

He and his wife, Aviva, visited the Begin Center three months ago. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to her, their daughters Orilia and Eleanor, their sons-in-law and grandchildren.


Mr. Mendel Kaplan, a member of the International Board of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation, spent some time at the Center on Monday and had a discussion with its founder Harry Hurwitz on future plans.

* * *

Mr. and Mrs. Pinchas Broder hosted their friend Mrs. Ruth Milichovsky of Brussels on a visit to the Menachem Begin Heritage Center and a tour of the Menachem Begin Museum. They were all very much impressed by what they saw and were especially moved by the museum. Mrs. Milichovsky knew Menachem Begin and said that by creating this Center "you are doing a great service to the nation and its future."

* * *

Mark Regev, the spokesman and director of the Press Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, took advantage of the school strike and brought his two secondary school children, Danielle and Yuval, to the Menachem Begin Museum. He was accompanied also by his father-in-law. All three generations appreciated the visit very much.

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.

* * *

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.

* * *

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.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Center Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 1

Volume 4, Issue 1
October 17, 2007

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 330,997

Welcome to Volume 4!

This week we open Volume 4 of the Bulletin which has been emailed to many hundreds of people in Israel and abroad regularly for the past three years since the Begin Center became fully operational. At the close of the last volume, the total number of visitors in the three years reached 330,384 which is an average of 110,128 per year. The annual number has been GROWING by more than 5,000 per year.

The figure is contrary to the trend in the US where according to a recent article "attendance at most presidential libraries and museums is down—way down in some cases. The number of visitors is declining at eight of the eleven Libraries."

Before the decline started, these were numbers per annum in actual terms in some of the American Presidential Libraries:

Herbert Hoover 60-70,000

Franklin D. Roosevelt 105,000

Harry S. Truman 105,000

Dwight D. Eisenhower 81,500

Gerald Ford 53,245

Jimmy Carter 86,087

Considering that the US population is at least fifty times larger than that of Israel, the attendance figure at the Begin Center is all the more astonishing. This would also apply to those US Libraries whose actual numbers are higher than the Begin Center's, but in relative terms they are much, much lower. For example, the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin, Texas, attracted 266,752; the John F. Kennedy library attracted 222,000. Even the newer libraries, the George Bush (the father) Library with 144,000, the Ronald Reagan Library with 191,000 and the Bill Clinton Library with 490,000 have not attracted a higher relative number of visitors. A recent revamping of the Lincoln Library with a new museum and exhibition attracted about 1 million visitors in a year. In relative terms, this would be the equivalent of about 20,000 visitors to the Begin Center.

What Begin Did With His Nobel Prize Money

Much interest has been aroused and there is a great deal of discussion about the announcement by former Vice President Al Gore that he will contribute the total sum he is to receive from the Nobel Prize Committee to the Alliance for Climate Protection. The amount he will receive is $750,000, which is half of this year's Nobel Prize award.

It is truly a generous gesture, but in the case of Al Gore, it should be recalled that he comes from a wealthy family.

This was not the case with a previous Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Prime Minister Menachem Begin, whose half share of the award in 1978 totaled $82,574.

On his return to Jerusalem from the ceremony, he and his wife Aliza announced that they were donating the full sum to establish the Aliza and Menachem Begin Nobel Peace Prize Fund to be distributed among needy students tutoring young school children who come from a disadvantaged area.

This tradition continues and each year the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation, which is in charge of the Aliza and Menachem Begin Nobel Prize Fund, awards the scholarships at the annual Menachem Begin Prize ceremony which is held during Chanukah.

Mazal Tov

A hearty Mazal Tov to Yisrael and Batya Medad on the birth of their grandson, Yochai, the son of Tzurya and Oren Luzon. Yisrael Medad is Director of Information Resources at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center.

In Memoriam

We regret to record the death of Mr. Mordechai (Mottel) Kreiner of Savyon, Israel, who before his aliyah was an active member of American Betar and for many years a well-known businessman in Israel. He is survived by his wife, Iris, his children and grandchildren to whom we extend our sincere condolences.


The Ambassador of Colombia, Mr. Juan Hurtado Cano, and Mr. Jorge Echeverri, his political and commercial adviser, visited the Begin Center on Tuesday morning where they were received by the Founder and President of the Begin Foundation, Harry Hurwitz, and Chairman of the Center, Herzl Makov. They were taken around the Center, the museum and other parts of the building by Moshe Fuksman-Sha'al, Elkana Efrati and their museum guide, Noam Zamir.

The Ambassador was delighted to receive a gift of Harry Hurwitz's book, Begin: His Life, Words and Deeds to mark the occasion.

* * *

Four members of the Mowszowski family from Australia visited and were deeply moved by the Menachem Begin Heritage Center and especially by the museum. They were Chanania and Shelly Mowszowski and Mr. and Mrs. Rafi Mowszowski who were recently married. Rafi is the son of Zalman and Aviva Mowszowski.

* * *

Marcel and Mathy Danon of Cape Town, South Africa were on a short visit to Israel last week and, as always on such occasions, came to the Begin Center where they were received by the head Founder and President, Harry Hurwitz, who briefed them on developments in the Project. As they had not previously seen the Jerusalem Elevator donated by Sindy and Barry Liben of New York and dedi cated to the American Betar, Hurwitz took them on a special ride in this popular feature in the museum.

* * *

Mr. Ezra Altshuler of Durban, South Africa, was a welcome visitor to the Menachem Begin Heritage Center.

Begin and Hebron Jewish Property

Last Jew to leave Hebron after 1929 massacre to back settler claims

By the time Yosef Ezra was four years old, his family was the only Jewish family still in Hebron following the 1929 massacre. They left only in 1947, a day after the UN voted to establish the state of Israel. He still has clear memories of his 15 years in the city.

Today, Ezra is 75 and lives in Jerusalem. But he still has registration documents for the Hebron lands and houses owned by both his family and Magen Avot, an umbrella organization of Sephardi yeshivas in the city. So this morning, he intends to publicly come to the aid of today's Jewish residents of Hebron, at a High Court of Justice hearing on whether those residents should be allowed to remain in the so-called "Triangle Market."

..."I never waived my rights, and those of my family, in these properties," he said. "But until we get this property back, I and descendants of other families expelled from Hebron have allowed the Hebron settlers to maintain them and use them."

Ezra claims that unlike other Jewish property in Hebron, his family's property was never taken over by the Jordanian custodian of absentee property.

...Ezra's relationship with the Hebron settlers is a lengthy one, though it has had ups and downs. More than 25 years ago, he participated in the cornerstone-laying ceremony of a new Jewish neighborhood in the compound of Hebron's Avraham Avinu Synagogue. Years earlier, he and other former Hebron residents met with then defense minister Moshe Dayan. "Dayan promised to return the Jewish property to us," Ezra said. "He promised, but he didn't deliver."

When Menachem Begin was prime minister, the government offered the Hebron refugees alternative land near Netanya, if they would waive their claims to the Jewish property in Hebron, Ezra related. The families refused.

In the years before 1947, Ezra's father used to pass intelligence to David Raziel, commander of the pre-state underground Etzel (Irgun Tzvai Leumi). If one of his Arab neighbors died, he would spend hours in the mourning tent to assess the mood and to get wind of any plans to attack or incite against Jews. Ezra believes that his father's association with Raziel is why the state refused to compensate the Hebron refugees, the way it did for people driven out of Gush Etzion and other West Bank communities: Etzel was affiliated with the political opposition to the ruling Mapai Party.

...He believes the Hebron settlers are "true pioneers, among the last who are putting Zionism into practice."

Ezra says that his family came to Israel from Spain following the Spanish expulsion of 1492. After nine months in Gaza, they moved to Hebron, and remained there continuously for the next 450 years.

Once, he said, there were excellent relations between Jews and Arabs in Hebron. But today, the Arabs, "like Peace Now and the prosecution, simply want Hebron to be free of Jews. I will fight that with all my strength."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Center Bulletin, Vol. 3, No. 52

Volume 3, Issue 52
October 10, 2007

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 329,680

Menachem Begin Event in LA Successful

As we release this Bulletin, we have heard from Los Angeles that the Menachem Begin commemoration event on Tuesday evening 9 October was very successful. The Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel was completely full with 400 people who were enthusiastic about the life story of Menachem Begin and the reports about the existence and activities of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem.

A number of rabbis who addressed the gathering highly praised the work of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center which some of them had already visited.

Yechiel Kadishai, who was the personal secretary of Menachem Begin for many years, read appropriate extracts. Chassia Milo (Begin) was present and was warmly applauded by the audience.

Addresses were given by MK Gilad Erdan, the Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles, Ehud Danoch, and the Chairman of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem, Herzl Makov, who said:

After three years of operation, this Center has attracted more than 325,000 visitors from all over the world—Jews and non-Jews, young and old, religious and secular—who come from every facet of life in Israel, civilian and military—the army, the navy, the air force—students who are moved and inspired by the story of this great leader, this simple and modest man who changed the course of our history and above all was a real mensch.

Our aim is to do more and more in order to pass his message from generation to generation.

"In the Beginning" Once Again

Hundreds of people filled the Reuben Hecht Auditorium and the overflow in the Asper Foyer at the launch of the new season of the Rohr Family Parashat HaShavua lectures which will be given once more by Dr. Micha Goodman whose exciting presentations have been attracting large numbers of participants.

This is an appropriate time to announce that a specialist publisher started work on the first book of Parashat HaShavua lectures presented at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. The publication date is still some time away.

Israel Government Fellows Hold Junior Knesset

The Israel Government Fellows program continues with exciting new experiences for the participants from week to week. Last week, as mainly English speaking young people, they were among the first ever to be part of an English version of the Junior Knesset program held in the Reuben Hecht Auditorium. They were intrigued by the prospect of a simulated Knesset session which was moderated by Yisrael Medad, Information Resource Director of the Begin Center. At the end of the session, they all spoke enthusiastically about this program and hoped that there would be another such opportunity before the end of their 6 month experience.


October 6: Begin's Words about Sadat

Yom Kippur is a stark reminder of the war in 1973 in which Israel lost 2,688 soldiers. It is also a reminder that eight years later on the anniversary of that war, President Sadat was assassinated at the height of the military parade in Cairo to mark the anniversary.

Menachem Begin was deeply distressed by the death of his friend and peace partner and after the assassination, he issued a statement saying:

President Sadat fell victim to a criminal assassination. The people of Israel share in the mourning of the people of Egypt. We send our deepest condolences to Mrs. Sadat and the children. President Sadat was murdered by the enemies of peace. His decision to come to Jerusalem and the reception accorded to him by the people, the Knesset and the Government of Israel will be remembered as on of the great events of our time. President Sadat did not pay attention to abuse and hostility and went ahead with endeavors to abolish the state of war with Israel and to make peace with our nation. It was a difficult road. The President of the Unite States, Mr. Carter, the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, President Sadat, and I as Prime Minister of Israel and our colleagues resolved to do our utmost to reach the noble goal of establishing peace in our region. Unforgettable are the days of Camp David, and so is the hour in which the President of Egypt and the Prime Minister of Israel signed a treaty between our two countries and the President of the United States attached his signature as a witness to that historic act. Millions of peace loving people throughout the world rejoiced. During our many meetings personal friendship was established between us. I therefore lost today not only a partner to the peace process, but also a friend. The hearts of my wife and me go out to Mrs. Sadat and to all the bereaved family. May G-d console them in their grief. We hope that the peace process, despite the cruel act of his enemies, will continue, as we know President Sadat would wish with all his heart.

The Israeli Prime Minister decided that he would personally attend the funeral the following Saturday. Because of the Shabbat, he asked to be accommodated in a hotel near the burial place and he walked all the way to the ceremony. It required tremendous physical effort from him and, considering the circumstances, it was an act of great courage.

Later, Mrs. Jihan Sadat said, following the death of Menachem Begin, that she would never forget "how Prime Minister Begin came to Cairo for the funeral of my husband. It was on a Saturday and it was hot and Menachem Begin insisted on walking the entire way because of the holiness of the Sabbath. That won over my heart."

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Ehud Olmert Quotes Menachem Begin

In his address to the Kneest's Winter session opening, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said:-

However, the responsibility which rests on our shoulders does not relieve us of our duty to move forward, with patience, taking into consideration all the risks and uncertainties, but also knowing that the road to peace will always be strewn with risks, and bearing in mind the possibility of deterioration, G-d forbid, into additional confrontations. Like Menachem Begin Z"l, our great leader, who set a marvelous example which will forever illuminate our historic horizon, I prefer the risks of peace over the agonies of war.


Monday, October 8, 2007

Begin To Be Recalled in Los Angeles

LA Jews, MK Erdan to mark Begin's legacy

Rory Kress , THE JERUSALEM POST Oct. 7, 2007

Likud MK Gilad Erdan will address Israeli and American leaders at Beverly Hills' Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel on Tuesday night, at a gathering to honor former prime minister Menachem Begin's legacy.

The event, which also marks the 30th anniversary of Anwar Sadat's first visit to the Knesset, is the first Begin event outside the country in which the Foreign Ministry has participated.

"I think this event is very, very important because we want to strengthen the relationship with the Diaspora ... so you can make the Jewish communities outside of Israel feel like they are a part of the family," Erdan, who chairs the Knesset Economics Committee, told The Jerusalem Post.

Erdan, who will be attending the celebration as a young leader of Begin's party, emphasized Begin's importance to Jews both in Israel and abroad.

"[Begin] spoke very clearly about the mutual commitment between Jews all over the world and in the US and in Israel," he said. "I think talking about his heritage and the values he believed in and sharing those with Jewish leaders outside Israel - especially in the US - is very important for the future of Israel."

Herzl Makov, general manager [chairman] of the [Peres] Begin Center, will also speak at the event, which will be attended by a thousand leaders from the Los Angeles Jewish community.

Friday, October 5, 2007

On Udi Lebel's New Book

Written out of history
By Tom Segev

At first, everything seemed heroic and high-minded, but it didn't take long before the voices of the screwed began to be heard; over the years this voice has dominated the history of the State of Israel. Mizrahim and Arabs and women, of course; Holocaust survivors; natives of almost every country in the universe, from the Yemenites to the Yekkes (German Jews): All were shortchanged, all suffered. Those who abandoned religion: Oy, how they suffered, in terms of family and of faith; those who were reared in children's houses in the kibbutzim: Oy, how traumatic it was that everyone saw their you-know-what.

Unfortunately, most of the crybabies are right, most of the time. Someone may eventually track down those Israelis who are unburdened by humiliations and discrimination complexes, but for the time being the voice of the members of the second generation is being heard. No, not those whose parents were in the Holocaust, but those whose parents fell victim to David Ben-Gurion's dictatorship because they were members of the Irgun and Lehi right-wing, pre-State paramilitary organizations.

Udi Label, who teaches political psychology and political science at Sapir College and at the College of Judea and Samaria in Ariel, has written a book that is full of bitterness and humiliation, but which is very much worth reading ("The Road to the Pantheon: Etzel and Lehi and the Boundaries of Israeli Memory," Carmel publishers, in Hebrew). History belongs to the winners, and Ben-Gurion knew that. That's why he closed the gates of the national pantheon to the dead of the Irgun Tzvai Leumi (also known by the acronym "Etzel") and Lehi, and ordered Israel to remember only those heroes who fought in the military organizations connected to the Labor movement. The disabled of Etzel and Lehi did not receive assistance, widows and children were left without stipends. Ben-Gurion is portrayed as a petty tyrant who was not satisfied with the fact that he made history: He wanted to control memory as well.

The government monopoly over history left one sole arena for alternative clarification: the courts. The relatives of those killed in the battle over the weapons ship Altalena, and even relatives of several of those who carried out the massacre in Dir Yassin, demanded to be recognized as entitled to compensation from the Defense Ministry. Their lawsuits gave rise to several emotionally and politically fraught trials, which centered around what constitutes "terror," as opposed to a legitimate struggle for independence. Twenty years later, then-prime minister Menachem Begin rewrote history and shaped a new culture of memory: Terror thus received national legitimacy. Here is a fascinating book that Palestinians should also read, prior to the inevitable debate as to whether only the terror of Fatah, or the actions of Hamas and Islamic Jihad as well, deserve a place in their pantheon.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Center Bulletin Vol. 3, No. 51

Volume 3, Issue 51
October 2, 2007

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 327,780

Response to the Ma'ariv Article

Much interest was aroused by the media reports and discussion on the Ma'ariv opinion poll which once again shows Menachem Begin as the "best Prime Minister Israel has had since the creation of the State." The decision was generally acclaimed but old-time political opponents who fought against Begin in the days of the Irgun and the 29 years he led the Opposition in the Knesset still adhere to their prejudices.

The Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation received enthusiastic reactions by email and phone from people in Israel and abroad.

"Yearning for Zion: Yemenite Jewry"

On Monday during Chol HaMoed Sukkot, 350 people came to the Reuben Hecht Auditorium of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center to celebrate Yemenite Jewry—its culture, history, food and music. Geula Cohen emceed the event which opened with speakers from Yad Ben Tzvi who talked about Yemenite culture, its Zionist motivations and other similar topics.

The intermission was a celebration of Yemenite food served in the Sukkah with Yemenite music playing in the background.

Upon returning to the auditorium, Tzion Golan and the "Avihu Medina" singers entertained with traditional songs and the Inbal dance troupe featured traditional Yemenite dancing.

Brigadier General Avigdor Kahalani gave a lecture on the topic of Yemenite culture and traditions and the Yemenite Jews' commitment to Eretz Israel.

Israel Government Fellows Off to A Good Start

The Israel Government Fellows program which has been organized by the Menachem Begin Heritage Center is proceeding well after the initial two weeks of orientation and integration. The 19 students who are here from five countries have had a series of lectures and briefings at the Begin Center and have participated in the first tour program at Masada and the Judean Desert area. They also visited the Menachem Begin Museum for the first time and were greatly impressed by it.

After the Sukkot holiday, they will begin their internships in various government offices and Ministries. The program is being directed by Tamar Darmon and her assistant Alon Shani.

Los Angeles Commemoration

A "first time ever" commemoration of Menachem Begin will be held in Los Angeles on October 9. The idea was initiated by the Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Ehud Danoch. Among those participating will be Yechiel Kadishai, Chassia Begin and Member of Knesset Gilad Erdan. The Begin Center is represented by Center Chairman Herzl Makov.

Comedy Event At the Begin Center

Honest Reporting, an organization dedicated to balancing media bias against Israel, organized an unusual event at Reuben Hecht Auditorium of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. 150 English speakers came to see a stand-up comedy act by comic Avi Liberman. Avi Liberman was born in Israel, raised in Texas and currently lives in Los Angeles. He has been seen on a number of stages in the US, both in person and on television. He regularly tours in Israel to help support various causes.

Gluck Family Visit

Leading friends and supporters of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation Jean and Eugen Gluck of Forest Hills, New York, visited the Begin Center before Sukkot and were welcomed and updated by the Founder and President Harry Hurwitz and the Chairman of the Center, Herzl Makov. They were accompanied by their friends and neighbors Norman and Agnes Moskowitz who, like the Glucks, were greatly impressed by the museum, the Auditorium—where they learned about the Junior Knesset program—and the Beit Midrash Menachem—where they learned about the Rohr Family Parashat HaShavua program. At the end of the tour Mr. Gluck said he was profoundly moved by the manner in which the great leader Menachem Begin has been recaptured in the Center and he can understand why it makes such a great impression on visitors from Israel and abroad.

In Memoriam

We regret to record the death of Eliyahu Isaacson, a veteran Israeli land developer and agriculturalist. He is survived by his wife Ruth, a well-known WIZO leader, two sons and a daughter. His son, Miron Isaacson, is a poet and lecturer and was the editor of the Begin Album published by Yediot Ahronot 4 years ago.