Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Center Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 42

Volume 4, Issue 42
July 29, 2008

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 418,276

UK PM Gordon Brown Speaks at the Knesset

It did not go unnoticed and it has been greatly appreciated that in his historic address to the Knesset British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (the first British Prime Minister to address the Knesset) recalled three of Israel's former Prime Ministers. First there was David Ben Gurion who proclaimed the Jewish State "which had to be fully democratic." Of Menachem Begin, he said "I thin k of Menachem Begin who reached out to Anwar Sadat, an old adversary, and who stood by him in this parliament when in 1977 he made his historic speech offering himself as a partner for peace." And, he mentioned Yitzhak Rabin "who was cruelly struck down" who made peace with Jordan.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown's approach is fundamentally different from that of President George Bush who, in his address at the opening of Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations, ignored everyone but the Socialist Prime Ministers of Israel. After referring to Israel's accomplishments, he said "we see the visionary leadership of men and women like Herzl and Weizmann, Ben-Gurion and Gold a Meir, Rabin and Sharon." It seems that his speechwriters in Washington, DC, or those who guided him in Jerusalem did not consider it appropriate to include Prime Minister Begin (who achieved the breakthrough to peace with Egypt), Prime Minister Shamir and other great leaders of the Jewish people.

One commentator said that the Bush attitude could be compared to someone speaking about the US and referring only to Benjamin Franklin, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, John Kennedy, Carter and Clinton.

2nd Session of Israel Gov't Fellows Ends

The second session of the Israel Government Fellows concluded this week with a festive graduation ceremony at the Begin Center. The Israel Government Fellows program is a joint initiative of the Begin Center, MASA and the Prime Minister's Office which allows future leaders of Jewish communities abroad to intern in Israel's government ministries. This session's Fellows came from the US, Canada, Fra nce, New Zealand and Russia and were placed within the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Science, Sport and Culture and the aegis of the Prime Minister's Office – the Government Press Office and the Civic Service Administration. The program is gaining popularity and now government offices are requesting interns from this program. The next session will start on August 24 with 26 Fellows and has been lengthened to a 10-month program.

Speakers at the graduation ceremony emceed by Alon Shani, the coordinator and counselor for the group, were Harry Hurwitz, Founder and President of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation; Herzl Makov, Chairman of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center; Shariel Gun, advisor to the Cabinet Secretary at the Prime Minister's Office; Or Pearl, newly appointed trade attaché of Israel in South Africa, from the Ministry of Industry Trade and Labor, who represented the mentors; Nir Buchler and Laurie Felder representing the Fellows; and Gadi Gavronsky who spoke of the lifelong im pact the Fellowship experience will have on the Fellows. Tamar Darmon, the director of the program, closed the speeches segment of the ceremony with thanks to everyone who made the program possible and gave words of encouragement to the Fellows as they go on their respective paths in life. The ceremony ended with the Fellows being called up to receive their certificates of completion and a gift from the Begin Center.

A Special Parashat HaShavua

A special Parashat Hashavua program will be held to coincide with Tisha b'Av on Thursday, August 7 at 7:00pm the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. Regular sessions of the program will commence with Parashat Bereshit after Sukkot, as in previous years.

The special session will feature a lecture by Dr. Ze'ev Binyamin Begin on the Lachish Letters and by Dr. Micha Goodman, the popular lecturer who inaugurated the Parashat HaShavua program at the Begin Center.

"Avshalom, Avshalom" to be on Israel TV's Channel 1

A rebroadcast of the program "Avshalom, Avshalom" — the story of Avshalom Feinberg of NILI fame will appear on Israel's Channel 1 television on Friday, August 15 at 5:00pm. The program, consisting of lectures, discussions and songs, was initially held in the Reuben Hecht Auditorium of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. Among others, it features Chaim Topol who was the emcee.

Farewell to National Service Girls of 2007-8

A short farewell was held for three national services girls who had served in the Begin Center in various capacities and, at the end of their stay, they took leave and were given token gifts by the Begin Center, whose leaders spoke warmly about them. They, in turn, said that the time spent in the Begin Center and the work they did in different departments remains an unforgettable experience.

The next group of National Service girls will start at the Begin Center on September 1.

In Memoriam

We deeply regret to record the death of Mrs. Adele Gartner, wife of the late Shia Gartner, who died last year. They were long-time friends and active supporters of Menachem Begin from the days of Betar in Poland through the period of the Irgun Zvai Leumi, all his years in the Opposition and in the premiership. They are survived by their daughter and son-i n-law Kouky and Armand Frohmann and their family.

Shia Gartner was on the International Board of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation and a few years ago undertook a significant financial contribution for the Warsaw section of the Museum in which he appears together with Menachem Begin.


Ambassador Sallai Meridor was in Israel on a short visit accompanying presidential candidate Obama during his short stay in Jer usalem. The Ambassador paid a short visit to the Begin Center with which he was actively associated before his ambassadorial appointment.

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A delegation of the Keren HaYesod from Greece was in Israel recently and made a special visit to the Begin Center, its different features, and of course, the Begin Museum. They were very impressed. This visit was initiated by Roland Sussmann, editor of SHALOM magazine which is based in Geneva.

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Cynthia and Harry Bauer of Sydney, Australia visited the Begin Center at the beginning of this week, and saw its museum and other features of the building.