Sunday, January 25, 2009

BeginCenter Bulletin, Vol. 5, Issue 14

JANUARY 22, 2009 | VOLUME 5, ISSUE 14

TOTAL NUMBER OF VISITORS SINCE OCTOBER 2004: 465,861


FACING A BUDGETARY CHALLENGE

The government of Israel, forced to go to elections in February, was not able to pass the 2009 State budget before the end of December 2008. In such cases, the law in Israel stipulates that the previous year's basic budget will be the reference point for the allocation from the State for the following year. As a result of this, the Begin Center is left with a State budget allocation of 2.9 million shekels for 2009. For 2008, the Begin Center received 6.9 million shekels which was the basic budget and the addition of a special allocation of 4 million shekels. Herzl Makov, Chairman of the Begin Center, and Dalia Rabin, Chairperson of the Rabin Center (operating with similar State funding), met with the Minister of the Treasury and succeeded in raising the allocation from 2.9 million shekels to 5 million shekels. This budget will remain in place until the Knesset approves the State budget which is expected to occur in June 2009.

We realize that even in June it won't be easy to increase the State budget taking into consideration that Israel is facing, along with the rest of the world, an economic depression that will require significant resources to overcome. Besides that, Israel just completed the operation in Gaza, which is a large expense incurred by the Security budget, regardless of all other aspects of that operation.

In light of this budgetary challenge, the Begin Center will be required to make dramatic cuts in our ability to provide the whole scope of quality programs that we are so proud to have at the Begin Center. However, to help minimize the effect, we are launching fundraising campaigns in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK in the next few months in order to ensure continuation of the important work that is being done here. We will, of course, call upon our friends and supporters to help us overcome this challenge.

SUCCESSFUL INTERNET CAMPAIGN

Coordinated with an advertisement campaign launched on Ynet, a major internet news site in Israel, the redesigned Begin Center website in Hebrew was launched and increased its online traffic tenfold. This, of course, means that the presence of the Begin Center is accessible to a worldwide community. We hope to launch the website in English in the very near future.

FROM THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT

First school completes Junior Knesset curriculum
The Dafna Junior High School from Kiryat Bialik became the first school this year to come to the Begin Center for their concluding day of the Junior Knesset curriculum. The concluding day consists of putting into action all the theories that they learned over the course of the semester regarding the process of passing a law. The students come to the Begin Center and, using the unique layout in the Reuben Hecht Auditorium which is a replica of the Knesset chamber, take on various roles to simulate passing a law in the Knesset. Their visit to Jerusalem included a visit to the real Knesset and a trip through the Menachem Begin Museum.

Agreement with the Jerusalem police for leadership workshops
Recently the Begin Center signed and agreement with the Jerusalem police to bring 60 groups of policemen who will go through the museum and participate in a workshop developed by the education department of the Begin Center entitled "In the Public Service". The workshop focuses on the motivation of individuals to serve the public and elements of character that inspire someone to serve the nation. These concepts are based on the ideals and heritage of Menachem Begin who spent his entire life in public service. As an added element of the workshop experience, the police groups will take a walking tour of Yemin Moshe, the neighborhood next to the Begin Center, "In the Footsteps of Avraham Kirshenbaum," who was a fighter in all three Underground movements during the British Mandatory period and who died defending Yemin Moshe, the neighborhood he grew up in and where his family still lived (and still live today).

NEW IN THE ARCHIVES
Recently declassified dossier delivered by Romanian Ambassador
A few weeks ago, the Romanian Ambassador Dr. Valeria Mariana Stoica visited the Menachem Begin Heritage Center to deliver a dossier to the Begin Center Archives. It was a recently declassified file regarding Prime Minister Menachem Begin's first visit to Romania and the correspondence with Romanian President Nicolae Ceau┼čescu which opened a line of communication with Egypt that led to the invitation for President Anwar Sadat to visit Israel and to begin the historic peace process.

Oral History Project Continues
The Oral History Project at the Begin Center Archives continues to conduct interviews with people who remember the life and times of Menachem Begin. Recently, the Archives staff met with Ra'anana Meridor, the widow of Eliyahu Meridor, who shared memories of the time of Irgun and the beginning of the Herut Party. Prof. Moshe Sharon, who had been the advisor on Arabic matters from 1978-1979, also provided an interview.

EVENTS

Past events
Another successful Nahum Heyman sing-along evening took place on Tuesday, January 20at 8:00pm highlighting the songs of Mordechai Ze'era and Ya'acov Orland. The Reuben Hecht Auditorium was filled with enthusiastic supporters of Hebrew song.

Upcoming Events
Date Change: The 4th annual Elitzur Lecture will take place on Monday, February 16 at 5:30pm. Details will follow in later bulletins. This event will be in English.

On January 25, five secular pre-army training courses will have a pre-election conference at the Begin Center to learn more about the party platforms and hear from candidates. There will be three panels covering the Economy, Education and Welfare, Defense and Foreign Affairs. Herzl Makov, Chairman of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, will present opening remarks and a short movie will be shown about Menachem Begin. This event is not open to the public.
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