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WHY THE MOUNT OF OLIVES, NOT MT. HERZL?
Next week, the Begin Center will be marking the 17th yahrtzeit of Menachem Begin's passing in 1992. The graveside service will take place on Sunday, March 1, one day after the Hebrew date, 4 Adar.
Menachem Begin is not buried in the state-sanctioned plots on Mt. Herzl but, per his request, in the Mt. of Olives cemetery that has been in use by the Jewish people for over 2000 years. He was buried there on his strict instructions as conveyed in the following note he presented to his secretary, Yechiel Kadishai, which we reproduce from the Center Archives
and which reads, in translation:
>"My dear Yechiel,
When the time comes, please read to my beloved ones, family, friends and companions, the following request:
'I wish that I be interred on the Mount of Olives, next to Meir Feinstein and Moshe Barzani, and I thank you and all those who ensure that my wishes be carried out.'
Yours, in love,
Meir Feinstein was an Irgun combatant who participated in several dangerous resistance operations. During the attack on the Jerusalem railway station in October 1946, he was shot in the arm but still managed to drive the retreating fighters to safety. Captured, his arm was amputated. Moshe Barazani was a member of the Lechi and was captured on Jerusalem's HaTurim Street in March 1947 just before he was to attack the convoy of the 9th Divisional Commander. Both were sentenced to hang but blew themselves up just prior to the carrying out of the sentence in the Central prison in the Russian Compound. They were 19 years old at the time of their deaths.
In his famous Kikar Malchei Yisrael speech, known as the "Tzachtzachim Speech", so-called because of the disparaging remarks made by entertainer Dudu Topaz against the military bravery of members of Herut and Likud at a Labour party rally there the previous evening, Begin, in an impassioned and obviously emotional section of his remarks, recalled the example of Feinstein and Barzani, one an Ashkenazi and the other, Sephardi, who, as Begin called out to the tens of thousands gathered in the square, were: "Jews! Brothers! Fighters!"
It can be assumed that their sacrifice and example of courage was the influence on his decision to select his grave to be near their final resting-place.
Upcoming Event for the commemoration of Menachem Begin's 17th yahrzeit:
1 March 2009
Yarzheit of Menachem Begin
5:30pm at the Begin Center
The Begin Center will be holding a commemoration event in the evening that includes a multi-media presentation in conjunction with Nahum Heyman who will lead sing-alongs with audience participation.
This event is in Hebrew and is open to the public.
To Bobby Brown, formerly of the Jewish Agency and now affiliated with the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation, the philanthropic organization of Guma Aguiar, CEO and Vice Chairman of Leor Energy, as well as a member of the International Board of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation. He was extensively interviewed in the Jerusalem Post recently by Ruthie Blum. May he have many more such interviews.
To Yuval Bar-Or, a member of the Begin Center staff, whose father died from a sudden heart attack. We send our deepest condolences and hope that his family knows no more sorrow.
Both the President of the US Friends of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation, Hart Hasten, and the President of the Canadian Friends of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation, Shoel Silver, visited the Begin Center this week and were briefed about the new programs and activities of the Begin Center. They were both in Jerusalem for the Jewish Agency Board of Governors meetings.
A delegation from the American Cultural Center and the US Embassy in Israel visited the Begin Center to ascertain the feasibility of a high level diplomat to visit the Center in the very near future. Although the visit will not be taking place, we are pleased that the Center is thought of as a high-profile location for distinguished visitors.
3 March 2009
Thinking after the Holocaust: Voices from Poland and Israel
5:00pm at the Begin Center
Co-sponsored with the World Jewish Congress Research Institute, this is a conference about Jewish life after the Holocaust, with Dr. Sebastian Rejak, Bureau for Polish–Jewish Relations, Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Rabbi Sam Kassin, Dean Shenbar Sephardic Center, Jerusalem; and Prof. Daniel Grinberg, Prof. of History, University of Bialystok
This event is in Hebrew and reservations must be made to firstname.lastname@example.org (click on the email address to send an email to reserve a place).