Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Center's Street Sign Advertising

The slogan reads:

A Riveting Trip Into the Life of a Leader!





Friday, September 25, 2009

Center Bulletin, Vol. 5, No. 48

Menachem Begin Heritage Center Bulletin Vo. 5, No. 48 | 24 September 2009


TOTAL NUMBER OF VISITORS SINCE OCTOBER 2004: 524,554


Table of Contents:
Greeting for Yom Kippur
Calendar of Events
Yahrzeit for Harry Hurwitz z"l
Helping our Friends in Wheelchairs
Soldiers on Slichot Tours
Contact

WE WISH ALL OUR READERS
WELL OVER THE FAST AND A MEANINGFUL YOM KIPPUR
MAY YOU BE WRITTEN AND SEALED IN THE BOOK OF LIFE



MARK YOUR CALENDARS


8 October at 9:00pm
Hoshana Raba Evening of Learning. To open the new year of the Rohr Family Parashat HaShavua, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center is sponsoring an evening of learning on October 8, 2009, for Hoshana Raba. The three main lecturers for the year will each present lectures that evening, including Dr. Shelly Goldberg, Mr. Baruch Barzel and Dr. Ido Hevroni. The evening will conclude with Yonatan Razel who will sing religious songs in the spirit of Hoshana Raba. This event is free and is in Hebrew.

October 15 at 7:00pm
First Parashat Hashavua with Dr. Ido Hevroni.

YAHRZEIT FOR HARRY HURWITZ Z''L

On 21 September, ג' תשרי, the Begin Center marked the first anniversary of the passing of Harry Hurwitz z''l with a graveside ceremony at Har HaMenuchot cemetery and a memorial evening at the Center. Approximately 40 people attended the short ceremony at the cemetery. Prayers were led by Yosef Wittelson and Psalms were recited by other attendees. Family and friends returned to the Begin Center for a ceremony attended by many who were at the cemetery and joined by an additional 30 people. Additional attendees were Prof. Moshe Arens, former Israeli ambassador to the US and former Foreign Minister, and Dr. Benny Begin, a minister in the current government and Menachem Begin's son. A short film recounting Harry’s life was shown; Yisrael Medad, Director of Information Resources, read out Mishnayot. Moshe Fuksman, Deputy Director of the Center, said a few words and introduced all the speakers. Dr. Hillel Hurwitz spoke on behalf of the family, Ilana Brown spoke as Harry's assistant for the last six years of his career and Herzl Makov, Head of the Center, spoke on behalf of the Begin Center.


HELPING OUR FRIENDS IN WHEELCHAIRS

Last week 25 youngsters from Beit HaGalgalim (lit. translation: House of Wheels) came to the Begin Center for the closing ceremony of their summer camp. The Begin Center hosted the young people to a visit to the Begin Museum and provided a space for their ceremony on the Simon Family Terrace overlooking the walls of the Old City.
The Begin Center is an ideal location for visitors in wheelchairs or those who have problems with stairs. The museum is located on a single level until the Jerusalem Elevator dedicated to American Betar by Barry and Sindy Liben and all floors are accessible by elevator.


SOLDIERS ON SLICHOT TOURS
For the past 19 nights, thousands of soldiers have been using the Menachem Begin Heritage Center as a starting point for Slichot tours and a center for lectures about the holidays. As an initiative of the Jewish Consciousness unit of the IDF, soldiers are brought to Jerusalem around the High Holidays and visit synagogues and other special locations. Slichot tours in Jerusalem have been going on for at least 20 years and now the IDF has created this special program specifically for soldiers. The Menachem Begin Heritage Center has been full each night of these tours.


WOULD YOU LIKE TO DONATE TO THE BEGIN CENTER?

Please direct any inquiries to development@begincenter.org.il.

Checks may be sent to:
US Friends of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation
3901 West 86th Street, Suite 470
Indianapolis, IN 46268
USA

Canadian Friends of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation
One Yorkdale Road, Suite 601
Toronto, ON M6A 3A1
CANADA

Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation
c/o Mr. Eric Graus
139a, New Bond St.
London WIS 2TN
UK

Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation
6 Nahon Street
Jerusalem 94110
ISRAEL

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Error in Jerusalem Post Op-ed

In a long article discussing the Transfer Agreement of 1933 with Nazi Germany so that Jews could immigrate, the author writes this:

DURING THE prewar years, the Transfer Agreement tore the Jewish world apart, turning leader against leader, prompting rebellion and even assassination within the Yishuv and Diaspora alike. Jewish Agency de-facto foreign minister Haim Arlosoroff, who had negotiated the deal on behalf of the Zionist Mapai Party, was assassinated on an empty stretch of the Tel Aviv beach (near where the Tel Aviv Hilton now stands), presumably by Revisionist Zionists of the Ze'ev Jabotinsky camp. The Revisionist Zionists, a minority at the time, violently opposed the deal with the Nazis. Today streets everywhere in Israel are named for Arlosoroff.


The commission that was appointed during Menachem Begin's premiership came to another conclsuion, that the Revisionists were not at all responsible for the shooting death of Chaim Arlosoroff. Moreover, the use of "violently opposed" was not reflected in deeds but rather in the press.

Slichot Tours

For the past 19 nights, thousands of soldiers have been using the Menachem Begin Heritage Center as a starting point for Slichot tours and a center for lectures about the holidays.

An initiative of the Jewish Consciousness unit of the IDF, soldiers are brought to Jerusalem at the High Holidays period and visit synagogues, the Kotel and other special locations.

Slichot tours in Jerusalem have been going on for at least 20 years and have proven popular with both religious and non-religious Jews.

And now the army has created this special program specifically for soldiers. The Menachem Begin Heritage Center has been full each night of these tours.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

MI5 Files on Menachem Begin

Menachem Begin
File refs KV 2/2251-2252


Menachem Begin was the sixth Prime Minister of Israel (1977-1983) and leader of the country's leading right-wing party, Herut, from 1948-1983. He came to prominence as an advocate of the view that mainstream Zionist groups were too accommodating with the British authorities in pre-1948 Palestine, and advocated the use of force to establish a Jewish state. He joined the militant Zionist group Irgun during the Second World War and eventually became its leader. The Irgun's attacks on British targets in Palestine made him one of the most wanted men in the region, with a substantial reward posted for his capture.

The Security Service file on Begin consists largely of a collection of reports on his movements, contacts and activities culled from various sources. The Service was interested in building a detailed picture of his career, and the file includes much detail about his early life.

There is debate in KV 2/2251 (1939-1949) as to whether or not he had been in a position to serve in Spain with the International Brigade. The file includes a photograph purportedly of Begin with comrades in Spain, but also information from other sources suggesting that he was elsewhere for the duration of the Civil War. The possibility of Soviet control of Begin's Irgun organisation is one of the key concerns of the file, which records but otherwise does not go into much detail about various terrorist acts attributed to that organisation. The file includes a Polish Security Middle East group report on Jewish terrorist activities, dated April 1945; and a report of intelligence sourced from Chilik Weizmann by the Secret Intelligence Service that Begin had undergone cosmetic surgery in February 1947 to conceal his identity. The SIS report suggests that he "had undergone a plastic facial operation and that his appearance is totally different to that displayed on police photographs", but notes dryly that "We have no description of the new face."

KV 2/2252 (1949-1955) continues with similar reports focusing on Begin's post-war travels and meetings in Europe and the Americas. There is an April 1953 case summary, including details of the possible connections between Begin and the Russian intelligence service at serial 121a: "...the answer would appear to be that Begin was probably not a Soviet agent in the sense that he was working for the RIS...but that there is some slight possibility that during 1947 he might have accepted or even sought Soviet financial assistance for the terrorist organisation."

Irgun
File refs KV 5/34-41

This collection of files documents the Security Service's monitoring of the activities of Irgun, the Jewish organisation involved or implicated in numerous acts of terrorism in the closing years of the British mandate in Palestine. The file covering the pre-war and Second World War period (KV 5/34, 1938-1946) is largely concerned with tracking the changes to the leadership of Irgun, its relationship with Zionist Revisionist groups, and assessing the strength of Irgun. The file includes reports of Irgun terrorist activities, which were suspended for most of the war (Irgun leader David Raziel served with the allies and was killed in action in 1941) but resumed in 1944, around the time that Menachem Begin assumed the leadership. The file includes an Irgun propaganda leaflet which addressed Palestine's Arab neighbours (serial 33a) and shows that Teddy Kollek, the future mayor of Jerusalem, was in contact with the Defence Security Officer in Palestine (e.g serials 57c, 63zc and 67ab).

Subsequent files focus chiefly on Irgun's post-war terrorist activities. KV 5/35 (1946) includes reports on attacks on trains and the kidnapping of British servicemen. The attack on the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, including discussion on the conflicting claims as to whether or not a warning was given, is covered in KV 5/36. This file includes a message from Kim Philby to the Security Service of 9 July 1946 warning of possible Irgun attacks against the British legation in Beirut, just before the attack on the King David. KV 5/37 includes some discussion of the possibility that Irgun might accept assistance from the Russians and the implications of this. It also includes (at serial 142a) examples of stickers posted by Irgun activists in Montevideo that were forwarded to the Security Service by Kim Philby in September 1946.

The attack on the British embassy in Rome is covered in KV 5/38 (1946-1947) which also includes at serial 169b, a letter from the Defence and Security Officer in Palestine on the Jewish interest in "Atomic Fission". The absorption of Irgun into the Jewish Defence Army and Irgun's developing relations with Hagana is covered in KV 5/39 (1947-1948). The Service's interest in Irgun declines after its dissolution, KV 5/40 and 41 mainly consider historical discussion and analysis from 1948. For instance, there is a SIME report about David Raziel's wartime service and death in Iraq at serial 327a in KV 5/40.


Also found there:


Stern Group
File refs KV 5/29-32
This collection of reconstituted files on the activities of the Stern Group (or Stern Gang, known as Lehi in Hebrew) records the Security Service's interest in this group's activities from 1941 to 1951. The Group carried out a series of attacks against British officials, police and soldiers, most notably the assassination of the British Minister Resident in the Middle East, Lord Moyne, and the murder of 28 British soldiers in a bomb attack in February 1948. Perhaps its most notorious attack, though, was the assassination of the United Nations negotiator Count Folke Bernadotte (right) in Paris in October 1948.

KV 5/29 (1941-1946) covers the death of the Group's leader, Abraham Stern, in February 1942, and also the assassination of Lord Moyne in Cairo in November 1944. Government actions to try to counter the Group in the aftermath of the assassination are covered in this file and in KV 5/30 (1946). The files also record fears that the Stern Group was planning to mount assassination attempts in the UK; a telegram records a "reliable source" claiming that the organisation was "training to assassinate members of His Majesty's Government, especially [Foreign Secretary] Mr [Ernest] Bevin."

The murder of Count Bernadotte is covered in KV 5/31 (1946-1948), which includes evidence that the assassins received assistance from the Czech authorities. This file also includes photographs of damage to government houses in Jaffa caused by Stern Group actions, and (at serial 141) an analysis of Stern Group membership by nationality. The period of the winding up of the Group following the creation of Israel is covered by KV 5/32 (1948-1951).

Hagana
File refs KV 5/33

This heavily weeded reconstituted file records the Security Service's collection of information about the Hagana, the Zionist defence force for Jewish settlements in Palestine. It includes a 1930 report by the Palestine CID on the Hagana's early history (serial 1a).

From the file, which spans the period 1930-1953, it is clear that the Service's main concern was possible Soviet support for or manipulation of the Hagana. The Service was also interested in the developing relations between the Hagana, Irgun and the Stern Group. The file includes (serial 90a) examples of Jewish propaganda sent to British soldiers in January 1946.

Center Bulletin, Vol, 5 No. 47

Menachem Begin Heritage Center Bulletin Vol. 5, No. 47, | 17 September 2009

TOTAL NUMBER OF VISITORS SINCE OCTOBER 2004: 518,893

Table of Contents:
Shana Tova
Upcoming Events
Yahrzeit for Harry Hurwitz z"l
In Memoriam: Capt Asaf Ramon z"l and Shirley Coblentz z"l
Fundraising: Highlight on the General Fund



SHANA TOVA!

WE WISH ALL OUR READERS
A SHANA TOVA U'METUKA
A YEAR OF HEALTH, HAPPINESS AND SUCCESS!


UPCOMING EVENTS: MARK YOUR CALENDARS

August 30 – September 27

"Slichot" an art exhibition hosted in cooperation with M'mizrach HaShemesh (Jewish Traditional Social Responsibility – founded by Avi Chai and Kol Israel Haverim). For more information, please go to their website: www.mizrach.org.il

September 18
The Begin Center will be closed for Erev Chag. Chag Sameach!

September 20

The Begin Center will be closed for Rosh Hashanah. Chag Sameach!

September 21 at 5:30pm and 7:15pm
Yahrzeit for Harry Hurwitz z"l.

September 27
The Begin Center will be closed for Erev Yom Kippur.

September 28
The Begin Center will be closed for Yom Kippur.

8 October at 9:00pm
Hoshana Raba Evening of Learning. To open the new year of the Rohr Family Parashat HaShavua, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center is sponsoring an evening of learning on October 8, 2009, for Hoshana Raba. The three main lecturers for the year will each present lectures that evening, including Dr. Shelly Goldberg, Mr. Baruch Barzel and Dr. Ido Hevroni. The evening will conclude with Yonatan Razel who will sing religious songs in the spirit of Hoshana Raba. This event is free and is in Hebrew.

October 15 at 7:00pm
First Parashat Hashavua with Dr. Ido Hevroni.

YAHRZEIT FOR HARRY HURWITZ Z''L

On September 21, ג תשרי, it will be one year since Harry Hurwitz z"l, former Head of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center and President of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation, passed away. Because it is also the Fast of Gedaliah, the timing of the memorial events have been pushed toward the end of the day and in coordination with the breaking of the fast. The short ceremony at the cemetery will be at 5:30pm. At 7:15pm, the fast will be broken with light refreshments at the Begin Center and a memorial ceremony will take place afterwards. Hillel Hurwitz, Harry's son, will speak on behalf of the family and Ilana Brown, Harry's former assistant, will also speak. Herzl Makov will speak on behalf of the Center.


IN MEMORIAM

Captain Asaf Ramon, son of the late Israeli astronaut Col. Ilan Ramon, was killed in a tragic F-16 plane crash over South Mt. Hebron this week. Ilan Ramon posthumously received the Begin Prize in 2003 for being the first Israeli astronaut and representing Israel in such an honorable way. Ilan Ramon also was the youngest pilot in the mission to bomb the nuclear reactor at Osirak in Iraq in 1981. His son, Asaf, followed in his father's footsteps graduating this past June with honors from the Israel Air Force pilots' course. Our hearts grieve with Rona Ramon and her family. The Menachem Begin Heritage Center sends its deepest condolences to the Ramon family and hopes that they should know no more sorrow.

* * * * *

Shirley Coblentz

Shirley Coblentz, long-time secretary of the late Harry Hurwitz, passed away last week at the age of 89 and was buried in Gush Etzion. She also had been for a time the secretary of the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, L.I. Rabinowitz. She spent much of her career working with Hurwitz including in the Revisionist Party in Johannesburg, South Africa, and after her aliyah, at the Prime Minister's Office as the only typist in English.



She stayed at the Prime Minister's Office even after Hurwitz left working through the Begin, Shamir, Rabin and Peres administrations. The final position in her long career was as Hurwitz's secretary at the Begin Foundation. She is survived by her daughter Barbara and her son Cecil, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. We send our condolences to the Coblentz family.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO DONATE TO THE BEGIN CENTER?
THIS WEEK'S HIGHLIGHT: GENERAL FUNDING

We have spent the last few weeks focusing on specific programs at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, all of which are important and worthy of dedicated funding. But individual programs cannot exist in a vacuum separated from the Menachem Begin Heritage Center itself. This week we will focus on general funding.

A General Fund limits our dependency on the government and protects us from the fluctuations of the government's budget. Over the years we have faced budget cut after budget cut from the government and this year, because of the global economic situation, our budget was cut to the extent that it has jeopardized our ability to maintain the building and staffing requirements and has limited the quality and quantity of our programming. A General Fund would allow us the freedom to expand our services and maintain our physical structure without requiring an extensive bureaucratic process for additional funds.

Day-to-day maintenance for the building and replacing furnishings worn out by normal use is a minimal requirement to continue to function as a cultural center in Jerusalem and even this too is at risk. The legacy and heritage of Menachem Begin resides in the Center and, while modest, it requires upkeep to maintain a level of dignity on par with Presidential Libraries in the US.

General funding can be used for capital projects such as developing and building additional exhibit space or additional meeting rooms. Our central feature, the museum, requires technical upgrades and exhibit adjustments to continue to draw individuals to the museum.
The museum, in addition to being upgraded, could be made accessible to many more people by extending its hours if additional staff and other associated expenditures could be approved. To enhance the main exhibition in the museum, we would have funds available for temporary exhibitions, such as the one launched to commemorate 30 Years Since the Peace Process, to expand on various elements of the museum, such as Begin's speeches, events at 1 Rosenbaum, the Lebanon War, etc. General funds could also be used to launch an Information Center so that visitors to the museum would have access to source material to help them research questions that they may have after visiting the museum.

General funds might also be used to promote the Menachem Begin Heritage Center locally and internationally by having a webmaster to continually update the website in Hebrew and also one in English as well as have funds for dedicated marketing campaigns within Israel and internationally.

Contributions to the General Fund are not limited to these ideas, but are a sample of additional projects that can be undertaken that do not fall within the guidelines of other programs. We hope that you will consider contributing to the General Fund so that we can operate independently, promoting the heritage and legacy of Menachem Begin to future generations.

Please direct any inquiries to development@begincenter.org.il.
Checks may be sent to:

US Friends of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation
3901 West 86th Street, Suite 470
Indianapolis, IN 46268
USA

Canadian Friends of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation
One Yorkdale Road, Suite 601
Toronto, ON M6A 3A1
CANADA

Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation
c/o Mr. Eric Graus
139a, New Bond St.
London WIS 2TN
UK

Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation
6 Nahon Street
Jerusalem 94110
ISRAEL

Center Bulletin Vol. 5, No. 45

Menachem Begin Heritage Center Bulletin Vol. 5, No. 45 | 3 September 2009

TOTAL NUMBER OF VISITORS SINCE OCTOBER 2004: 517,086


CELEBRATING THE MENACHEM BEGIN HERITAGE CENTER

On 27 August, 2009, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center celebrated in grand style the tenth anniversary of the Center, the 5th anniversary of the permanent building and passing the 500,000 visitor mark. Approximately 1,400 people attended the variety of events that evening. The auditorium was full, in addition to the overflow seating, for the lectures by Dr. Micha Goodman and Dr. Udi Lebel and nearly full for the movie, The Band's Visit. All the museum tours were fully booked and eight walking tours, necessitated four guides, around the neighborhood to the King David Hotel and the Old Railway station were fully booked almost totaling almost 250 participants on the walking tours alone.



Everyone enjoyed the music provided by the Dondorme orchestra, including many who spontaneously broke out dancing. (Video can be seen on the Begin Center blog here, as well as on our YouTube channel here.) In addition to all the exceptional events, special night lighting highlighted the building and lit up the sky, including a special light with the Begin Center logo.


STELLAR NUMBERS IN THE MUSEUM

August 2009 was a stellar month in terms of number of visitors to the Museum. 8,237 visitors came to the museum from August 1 to August 31. In comparison with last year in August, a traditionally busy month in the museum, there was a 32% increase in visitors. The difference between July 2009 and August 2009 is even greater, showing a 50% increase in visitors.

This news is especially exciting given that on August 27, 2009 we held our great celebration to mark ten years of the Center, five years of the permanent building and 500,000 visitors to the Center.


IN MEMORIUM

Alex Grass, founder of RiteAid drugstores, prominent philanthropist and one of the Begin Center's early supporters, passed away this week at the age of 82 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. We send our condolences to his family.


UPCOMING EVENTS: MARK YOUR CALENDARS


August 30 – September 27
"Slichot" an art exhibition hosted in cooperation with M'mizrach HaShemesh (Jewish Traditional Social Responsibility – founded by Avi Chai and Kol Israel Haverim). For more information, please go to their website: www.mizrach.org.il

September 9, 8pm
"Mystery of Kol Nidre: Kol Nidre in Film." This lecture reviews the elements that make this prayer so mysterious as reflected in its cinematic treatment. Video clips will be shown from 'The Jazz Singer' and 'The Chazzan of Vilna' as well as other movies that highlight Kol Nidre.

The lecture will be given by Dr. Moti Friedman, who produces the Traditional Chazzanut concert at the Tower of David Museum, is a lecturer in the History of Traditional Music and Prayer and is the director of the Herzl Museum. Yohanan Henning will be the chazzan and Michael Lukin will play the flute.

Reservations can be made at (02) 565-2020. Cost of the show is 40₪ and will be in Hebrew.

October 21
Open House for new courses at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. Seven new courses will be taught on subjects ranging from Judaism, the History of Israel, Promoting Israel, etc. The courses will be in Hebrew. This is the second year of courses at the Begin Center and we look forward to another successful year.


WOULD YOU LIKE TO DONATE TO THE BEGIN CENTER?
THIS WEEK'S HIGHLIGHT: THE ACTIVITIES DEPARTMENT


The heart of the Begin Center's connection with the general public is our activities. Ariel Cohen plans and coordinates events and activities for the Begin Center based on the mission of the Begin Center. Our events and activities are sometimes about Menachem Begin himself, but also about his legacy, his life story, his interests and others people connected to him. The Activities Department has initiated many projects this year increasing both the number of activities, the variety of activities and the attendance at each event.

One of the ways we encourage attendance is to offer free events or events at very low cost. This makes all events accessible to all people. This is very much in line with the Begin Center's mission of passing on the legacy and ideals of Menachem Begin.
Our first and longest running program has been the Rohr Family Parashat HaShavua following in the tradition of Menachem Begin's joy of learning the portion of the week, a tradition he maintained in his home at 1 Rosenbaum and continued when he was Prime Minister in the Prime Minister's residence. This is a hugely popular program, with sometimes up to 500 attendees. It is especially unique in that it is attended by such a diverse group of people. Men and women, religious and secular, young and old, all come together for an hour of study together. This program is free to the public every week and for special sessions like the all-night study for Shavuot.

This past year, the Activities Department has created several series, in cooperation with other organizations, both of which were very successful. The National Movies series, which ended this week, was a series of six movies that focused on different cultural elements in Israel. The Nahum Heyman series brought music to the Begin Center in the form of national poetry that had been turned into musical songs.

Several memorial events took place over the past few months including for Rabbi Aryeh Levin, Yair Stern and Ze'ev Jabotinsky, all of whom were connected in some way to Menachem Begin.

For the second year the Begin Center will be offering courses that meet over several weeks. The open house for the new year's courses will be on October 21.
Whenever there is an occasion to commemorate a historic event, the Begin Center also sponsors conferences, lecture evenings and other kinds of special events which could be as diverse as evenings of songs, films or family-friendly entertainment.

Contributions designated to Activities could be used for increasing the variety of activities and quality of each event, advertisement to increase attendance, continuing to offer free or heavily discounted admission fees to allow all members of the public to attend, recording events (audio/video) for possible posting on the internet to introduce the world to the activities of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, etc. Larger contributions would allow the Begin Center to dedicate an activity in your name.
Your tax-deductible donation can help us to continue to provide these effective, dynamic, successful programs to a wider audience.

Center Bulletin, Vol, 5 No. 46

Menachem Begin Heritage Center Bulletin Vol. 5 No. 46 | 10 September 2009

TOTAL NUMBER OF VISITORS SINCE OCTOBER 2004: 518,135

Contents:

1. CELEBRATING THE MENACHEM BEGIN HERITAGE CENTER
2. YAHRZEIT FOR HARRY HURWITZ Z''L
3. IN THE JERUSALEM POST
4. UPCOMING EVENTS: MARK YOUR CALENDARS
5. THIS WEEK'S HIGHLIGHT: THE ISRAEL GOVERNMENT FELLOWS PROGRAM


CELEBRATING THE MENACHEM BEGIN HERITAGE CENTER

On 27 August, 2009, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center celebrated in grand style a number of landmark events. Following is the translated text of the speech given by Herzl Makov, Chairman of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center:

I am pleased and privileged to personally update you on a special celebration that we held on 7 Elul, 27 August, 2009, in the Menachem Begin Heritage Center marking ten years since the establishment of the Center, five years since the opening of the permanent building and having over 500,000 visitors to the Center since then.

Ten years have passed since the government established the organization and appointed the public council in accordance with the Menachem Begin Commemoration Law adopted by the Knesset by the initiative of then Member of Knesset Reuven Rivlin. Over the next five years, we dedicated ourselves completely to the planning and construction of the building as well as designing and initiating commemoration and education activities which would be the foundation of Center activities.

In the summer of 2004, in the presence of the heads of the State of Israel, the contributors and followers of Menachem Begin, we inaugurated the building. We remember that many of the guests admitted then that they had doubts about bringing forth the dream of the Begin Center into reality. They were happy to be proved wrong.

With much excitement, we opened the doors to the public. And the public indeed came. More than 500,000 visitors came to the Center in its five years of activity. They walked in the footsteps of Menachem Begin through the museum. They were moved to tears from the strength of his image. They experienced his leadership. They were uplifted by his speeches. They admired his personality. School students participated in the Junior Knesset program and through role-playing activities learned the parliamentary process. IDF soldiers participated in leadership workshops; workshops focusing on Israel as a Jewish and democratic state; and they learned the history of the Zionist struggle to establish the State of Israel. Additionally, the general public participated in a wide variety of lectures, tours, events, each of which was another brick in building Menachem Begin's heritage. We have tried to carry out all the activities guided by Menachem Begin the man and in his spirit – with modesty, with integrity and with a strong sense of commitment to Am Israel.

Success is not achieved alone and we have many partners – the many contributors whose generosity built the building and help to maintain activities; members of the Foundation and the Public Council; the Executive Committee that gave us its support and backing; and especially our staff whose devotion, love and abilities assist us in achieving our goals. We also remember with affection a man who we greatly miss, our dearest Harry Hurwitz z''l, who as early as 1993 was recruited by the founders of the Foundation in a professional and full-time capacity to raise the funds that enabled the fulfillment of the dream. From the beginning, and until his last day, Harry had the chance to see the Center become a reality, grow and thrive.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you personally for your support and thank the Almighty for allowing me the immense privilege and incredible honor of being a partner in this great endeavor of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center.

The video of highlights of the evening including entrance to the event, interviews and excerpts from the speeches through the evening (in Hebrew) is available for viewing at the Begin Center's YouTube Channel.


YAHRZEIT FOR HARRY HURWITZ Z''L

On September 21 it will be one year since Harry Hurwitz z"l, former Head of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center and President of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation, passed away. Because it is also the Fast of Gedaliah, the timing of the memorial events have been pushed toward the end of the day and in coordination with the breaking of the fast. The short ceremony at the cemetery will be at 5:30pm. At 7:15pm, the fast will be broken with light refreshments at the Begin Center and a memorial ceremony will take place afterwards. Hillel Hurwitz, Harry's son, will speak on behalf of the family and Ilana Brown, Harry's former assistant, will also speak. Herzl Makov will speak on behalf of the Center.


IN THE JERUSALEM POST

Last week, the Jerusalem Post published an opinion piece by Shalom Hammer in which he lamented that the Israeli school system failed to teach young people values and encouraged a quantity of knowledge, not a quality of knowledge. (To see the article, please see this link.) Using this as an opportunity to highlight the values-driven leadership workshops created by the Begin Center, Herzl Makov, Chairman of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, wrote a letter to the editor that was published on September 3. The text of the letter is as follows and can be read here.

Sir, - In "Back to school" (Shalom Hammer, August 31), the author states: Israeli education is predicated upon quantitative education as opposed to qualitative education... They program our children to amass volume as opposed to embracing values, and this breeds a society of ego-centricity."

This insight into the pedagogic problems that exist in Israel is at the heart of the educational workshops offered by the Begin Center, including one on "Value-Driven Leadership."

Much of the thrust of the Begin Center's projects, in formal and informal education as well as the rationale behind the museum, is to suggest to participants and visitors that beyond the historical facts, Menachem Begin sought to influence the Jewish people on the basis not only of benefits for the individual, but, more importantly, in values such as joint responsibility, Jewish heritage, concern for the life of the nation and the need to assist Jews in difficulty.



UPCOMING EVENTS: MARK YOUR CALENDARS


August 30 – September 27

"Slichot" an art exhibition hosted in cooperation with M'mizrach HaShemesh (Jewish Traditional Social Responsibility – founded by Avi Chai and Kol Israel Haverim). For more information, please go to their website: www.mizrach.org.il

October 21

Open House for new courses at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. Seven new courses will be taught on subjects ranging from Judaism, the History of Israel, Promoting Israel, etc. The courses will be in Hebrew. This is the second year of courses at the Begin Cente r and we look forward to another successful year.


WOULD YOU LIKE TO DONATE TO THE BEGIN CENTER?
THIS WEEK'S HIGHLIGHT:
THE ISRAEL GOVERNMENT FELLOWS PROGRAM


This week on September 9, 2009, the fourth session of the Israel Government Fellows (IGF) Program began with 25 Fellows from the US, Canada, Germany, France, Serbia, Russia and Venezuela. After a month-long orientation session, they will begin their internships in various government ministries, including the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Finance, Tourism, Justice and at the President's Residence.

4th Session of the IGF

The Israel Government Fellows Program is endorsed by the Prime Minister's Office and its mission is to strengthen the connection between Israel and the Diaspora and to promote Jewish leadership globally, inspired by Menachem Begin's commitment to Jewish unity and his model of value-driven leadership. Throughout the program, the Fellows will attend seminars as well as their internship placements, learning from experts in their fields about Israel's history, its place in the world today and the challenges it faces, as well as topics as diverse as Zionist history, security issues, economic issues, Jewish identification, the environment, Israel in the media and Israeli culture and arts, etc. In addition to full days of work, they will attend classes in the evening to learn Hebrew. The Fellows will also tour the country on monthly trips.




Jason Reinin, from California, participated in the IGF in the last session (2008-2009) and who currently works in the Ministry of Finance after his internship, said this:

My year in the IGF was the most educational, inspiring and interesting year of my life. I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to use their full potential to contribute to this amazing country while at the same time take away once-in-a-lifetime experiences they will never forget.

Other past participants have found work in Israeli consulates, working with the Jewish Agency or other work in which they help promote Israel. Many former participants were so inspired by their experience, that they made aliyah to be a part of Israel directly and work for Israel here, rather than in their home countries.

The Menachem Begin Heritage Center, in fulfilling its mission to pass on Menachem Begin's heritage to future generations, has initiated the Israel Government Fellows Program to start to build the next generation of leadership in the Diaspora. Begin also believed very strongly in building ties between Israel and the Diaspora and in this program, Fellows spend ten months living in Israel learning about Israel as a democratic state in the Middle East which gives them deep, first-hand knowledge of Israel as opposed to an academic understanding of Israel.

Funds directed to the IGF Program can be used in a variety of ways. Funds for the program can increase the quantity and quality of programming including seminars, trips and courses outside the internship experience. More significant contributions can be used for scholarships for participants. MASA provides scholarships, as well as grants to those with financial need. However, the cost of the program and its associated cost of living in Israel for ten months without income is still prohibitive for qualified participants from Eastern Europe or Latin and South America, as well as qualified participants who simply cannot financially afford to dedicate a year to Israel.

We invite our readers to visit the Israel Government Fellows website at www.israelgovernmentfellow.org.il and view the video online here.

For a more precise breakdown of costs associated with the program, tuition, MASA grants and for other questions, please direct your inquiries to development@begincenter.org.il.

Checks may be sent to:

US Friends of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation
3901 West 86th Street, Suite 470
Indianapolis, IN 46268
USA

Canadian Friends of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation
One Yorkdale Road, Suite 601
Toronto, ON M6A 3A1
CANADA

Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation
c/o Mr. Eric Graus
139a, New Bond St.
London WIS 2TN
UK

Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation
6 Nahon Street
Jerusalem 94110
ISRAEL

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Yoel Marcus Suggests Menachem Begin 'Lied'

Winston Churchill once said that during wartime the truth is so precious it is necessary to guard it with a wall of lies. But no one has ever said that a person who is supposed to be working toward peace has to surround the truth in a wall of lies. If Netanyahu's trip was so secret, why did they reveal that he had traveled at all? And to whom did they reveal that he had traveled to Russia? If this is such an important secret, why has there been such anguish at the Prime Minister's Bureau, instead of leaving the secret for the history books?

This country's history is paved with secrets and lies that were considered justified. David Ben-Gurion declared, for example, that it wasn't the Israel Defense Forces that had carried out the slaughter at Qibya, whereas he himself had authorized that reprisal action. No one knew about prime minister Yitzhak Rabin's flight at the end of his first term when he traveled, disguised in a black wig, to a secret meeting in Morocco. To this day it's not clear whether Menachem Begin's promise the Lebanon War would be restricted to 40 kilometers was the truth or a lie.



Source

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Employees Fun Day Activity

The employees, their spouses and the volunteers at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center had a fun day to mark a decade of existence, five years since the opening of the permanent building and over 500,000 visitors since then.

We went off to Kfar Adumin where we were provided with tractoronim, buggy-like terrain vehicles and off we went into the Judean Desert for the next two hours.

My driver, Ilana, was great despite the ruggedness and difficulty of some patches and here's a short clip to give you some idea of what we went through:

video



And here are some pictures of the day's events and happenings:
















Thursday, September 3, 2009

Begin Center Head's Letter in The Jeusalem Post

Here:-

Begin's influence

Sir, - In "Back to school" (Shalom Hammer, August 31), the author states: Israeli education is predicated upon quantitative education as opposed to qualitative education... They program our children to amass volume as opposed to embracing values, and this breeds a society of ego-centricity."

This insight into the pedagogic problems that exist in Israel is at the heart of the educational workshops offered by the Begin Center, including one on "Value-Driven Leadership."

Much of the thrust of the Begin Center's projects, in formal and informal education as well as the rationale behind the museum, is to suggest to participants and visitors that beyond the historical facts, Menachem Begin sought to influence the Jewish people on the basis not only of benefits for the individual, but, more importantly, in values such as joint responsibility, Jewish heritage, concern for the life of the nation and the need to assist Jews in difficulty.

HERZL MAKOV,
Head, Menachem Begin Heritage Center
Jerusalem

Center Bulletin, Vol. 5, No. 42

Volume 5, Issue 42 September 3, 2009

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 509,696


Marking Two Milestones:
Five Year Anniversary and Half a Million Visitors


Location
Time
Event

Reuben Hecht Auditorium
7:00pm
Dr. Micha Goodman

Philosophical Aspects of Biblical Heroes


8:00pm
Dr. Udi Lebel

Coming Out of the Underground: The Right Wing in Israeli Memory, Then and Now


9:00pm
Screening of The Band's Visit (Subtitles in Hebrew)


Simon Family Balcony
9:30pm
Dondorme Orchestra


External Tour to the Old Train Station and the King David Hotel
6:00pm to 9:00pm, leaving every hour
Two Blasts that Shook Jerusalem

Museum Tour
6:00pm to 9:30pm, leaving every half hour
The Menachem Begin Heritage Museum


PLEASE NOTE: All events are free and entrance will be on a first come, first served basis EXCEPT museum tours and tours outside the Center. Events are all in Hebrew. The tours are by RESERVATION ONLY and SPACE IS LIMITED. Reservations will NOT be accepted before August 20.


Sidney Zion Passes Away in New York

Sidney Zion was an American author who wrote Begin from the Beginning, which is currently out of print. He was more famous for advocating for changes in hospital policy after the tragic death of his daughter. He passed away this week and we send condolences to his family.

We bring to you a letter he wrote which was published on March 10, 1992 shortly after Menachem Begin passed away:

To The New York Times, March 10, 1992

"The Courage to Make Peace" (editorial, March 10) states that Menachem Begin transformed Israel in two important ways-by leading Likud to power and by making peace with Egypt. True enough. But it's like analyzing George Washington's contribution to America by referring only to his presidential years.

Menachem Begin led the first Hebrew revolution in 2,000 years. On Feb. 1, 1944 as commander in chief of the Irgun Zvai Leumi, he issued a proclamation of revolt, promising a "war to the end" with the British mandatory regime in Palestine, "which hands our brothers over to Hitler." The proclamation demanded that the British immediately transfer power in Palestine to a provisional Hebrew government. "There will be no retreat. Freedom-or death."

The British shrugged it off. David Ben Gurion's Jewish Agency denounced it as "madness." But the revolt was on, and true to the proclamation, it did not end until the British were driven out of the country in 1948.

It was a classic street revolution. The Irgun, never more than 10,000 strong, blew up British installations, copped British arms, liberated British prisons, in retaliation flogged and hanged British soldiers.

Vilified as "terrorists" in the world press, informed against, kidnapped and tortured for years by order of the Jewish Agency, the Irgun, with the tiny but lethal Stern Group, fought on.

From November 1945 to July 1946, the Hagannah, the official underground army, joined the fight, but on orders of the Jewish Agency, laid down its arms in favor of diplomacy. Irgun and Stern rejected this.

The day the British withdrew from Palestine, May 14, 1948, the British Colonial and Foreign Office published a termination of the mandate, explaining: "84,000 troops. . . had proved insufficient to maintain law and order in the face of a campaign of terrorism waged by highly organized Jewish forces."

Menachem Begin rests in peace, but there can be no peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors until one and all recall that Israel was made not in a U.N. backroom fix, but by the blood of its sons and daughters.

-Sidney Zion, New York, NY



Comments from the Visitors' Book

In preparation for our five year anniversary and the celebration of our over 500,000 visitors since we opened to the public, we bring you a few comments from our visitors' book.

- It was a magnificent tour. I wished our wonderful country would be provided with such a unique human being as this wonderful leader, this outstanding leader again. – New York Jewish Museum

- A wonderful tribute to the life and principles of a great Jew, Menachem Begin – JM in the AM

- I am thrilled to be able to visit and pay tribute to a great leader and honor my father, Ben, who fought with Begin.

- Excellent presentation – worth the trip from America. This is our second time here. "We need him now." – Oak Park, Michigan, USA

- Very informative look at the history behind a man who helped create history. – Monsey, Indiana, USA

- A beautiful museum in a magnificent setting, a fitting tribute to a great Jew. - USA

- The most excellent museum I've ever been in. – Fort Meyers, Florida, USA

- It was most interesting to relive those momentous years during the creation of our sacred land. – from Holocaust survivors

- The tour was AMAZING!

- Most impressive and informative. – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

- Learned, was impressed, relearned. – Long Island, New York, USA

- Thank you. This is an amazing museum. I found it to be just wonderful and very emotional. I believe it is the most inspirational museum I have ever visited worldwide. – Australia

- An amazing, unbelievable experience. Kol HaKavod! – Johannesburg, South Africa

- This is a very educational and cool exhibit! We enjoyed it very much! – on the occasion of her Bat Mitzvah from Toronto, Canada

Center Bulletin Vol. 5, No. 43

Volume 5, Issue 43 - September 3, 2009

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 511,990


Marking Two Milestones:
Five Year Anniversary and Half a Million Visitors



Reuben Hecht Auditorium

7:00pm Dr. Micha Goodman Philosophical Aspects of Biblical Heroes

8:00pm Dr. Udi Lebel Coming Out of the Underground: The Right Wing in Israeli Memory, Then and Now

9:00pm Screening of The Band's Visit (Subtitles in Hebrew)

Simon Family Balcony
9:30pm Dondorme Orchestra


External Tour to the Old Train Station and the King David Hotel
6:00pm to 9:00pm, leaving every hour Two Blasts that Shook Jerusalem

Museum Tour
6:00pm to 9:30pm, leaving every half hour
The Menachem Begin Heritage Museum

PLEASE NOTE: All events are free and entrance will be on a first come, first served basis EXCEPT museum tours and tours outside the Center. Events are all in Hebrew. The tours are by RESERVATION ONLY and SPACE IS LIMITED. The direct number for reservations is (02) 565-2011.


Date Change for National Film Evening

The final movie in the national film series hosted by the Begin Center in cooperation with the 12 Tribe Foundation will be shown on 26 August (the original advertised date was 27 August, but it interferes with the gala events of our anniversary celebration). This film is about the life of Rabbi Aryeh Levin, who was known as the rabbi for prisoners during the years before the state of Israel was declared. The movie, One of the Righteous (אחד מל''ו), will be in Hebrew. The lecture afterwards will be given by the director of the film Moshe Alaffi and will also be in Hebrew. The film begins at 8:30pm and costs 30 NIS.


Krakow Exhibition Closed This Week

After eight months at the Begin Center, the exhibition A World Before Catastrophe will be returning to its home in Krakow, Poland. The exhibition was created by the International Cultural Center in Krakow and depicts Jewish life in Krakow between the World Wars. The plan is for the exhibition to travel to other museums around the world.


Would you like to donate to the Begin Center?

With the holidays coming up, some of you might be considering a donation to the charity of your choice. We, at the Begin Center, would like to propose that you make your contribution this year to the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation.

Please join us in helping to guarantee that the legacy and heritage of Menachem Begin continue to grow and thrive in Israel. Help us to make sure that the Begin Center is able to educate future generations about what it means to be a leader driven by values.

Over the next few weeks, we will highlight some of our programs in the bulletin and ask for your support to ensure the future of all of our programs.

Without you, as friends of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, our mission cannot be fulfilled.

For more information about funding opportunities and how to contact our affiliates in the US, UK or Canada, please contact development@begincenter.org.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Center Bulletin Vol. 5, No. 44

Menachem Begin Heritage Center Bulletin Vol. 5, No. 44 | 27 August 2009


TOTAL NUMBER OF VISITORS SINCE OCTOBER 2004: 514,075


UPCOMING EVENTS: MARK YOUR CALENDARS

August 30 – September 27

"Slichot" an art exhibition hosted in cooperation with M'mizrach HaShemesh (Jewish Traditional Social Responsibility – founded by Avi Chai and Kol Israel Haverim). The opening night of the exhibit will be August 30 at 5:00pm. A panel discussion will take place with Rachela Arel, an attorney, Head of the Prisoners' Rights Clinic; Rabbi Wisner Yukutiel, Head Rabbi of Prisoners' Services; and Mrs. Debbie Sagi, head of the Therapy and Rehabilitation Department of Prisoners' Services. Those interested in a group tour of the exhibit can call Elisheva Blum at 050-433-6366. For more information, please go to their website: www.mizrach.org.il


September 9, 8pm

"Mystery of Kol Nidre: Kol Nidre in Film." This lecture reviews the elements that make this prayer so mysterious as reflected in its cinematic treatment. Video clips will be shown from 'The Jazz Singer' and 'The Chazzan of Vilna' as well as other movies that highlight Kol Nidre.

The lecture will be given by Dr. Moti Friedman, who produces the Traditional Chazzanut concert at the Tower of David Museum, is a lecturer in the History of Traditional Music and Prayer and is the director of the Herzl Museum. Yohanan Henning will be the chazzan and Michael Lukin will play the flute.

Reservations can be made at (02) 565-2020. Cost of the show is 40₪ and will be in Hebrew.

October 21
Open House for new courses at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. Seven new courses will be taught on subjects ranging from Judaism, the History of Israel, Promoting Israel, etc. The courses will be in Hebrew. This is the second year of courses at the Begin Center and we look forward to another successful year.


VISITORS

Last week we had a visit from Dov Hikind, Assembly Member from New York, with his wife, Shani, and their son. They came to the Begin Center with Helen Freedman of AFSI (Americans for a Safe Israel) and Dr. Tzvi and Debbie Briks of New Rochelle, New York, who are members of the Young Israel Synagogue of Scarsdale.

All of the guests were there to meet with Yisrael Medad, Director of Information Services at the Begin Center, and his wife Batya.

Photo


WOULD YOU LIKE TO DONATE TO THE BEGIN CENTER?
THIS WEEK'S HIGHLIGHT: THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT


The Education Department at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center is a hive of activity. Ilan Cohen, the Education Coordinator, has structured the education programming to deal with four main types of activities: lectures, tours, educational programs and workshops.

This bulletin will describe two of our programs. The Junior Knesset, which helps students learn about the parliamentary system, and the Soldier/Police Workshops, which teach leadership skills through role-playing and teamwork through activities.

The Junior Knesset program, in its full form, is taught to 13-14 year old students as a course in school taught by their own teachers with the approval and support of the Ministry of Education. The concluding day at the Begin Center is the culmination of everything they have learned in the semester in a role-playing simulation of the Knesset passing a law. The Reuben Hecht Auditorium was specially designed to resemble the Knesset hall. The students take on various roles in the law-making procedure and by the end of the day have either passed the law or decided not to pass it. Teachers are amazed by the high level of enthusiastic participation and students are engaged and interested in the subject matter because they are participating rather than sitting and listening to lectures.

The Junior Knesset program was modified and shortened to be able to use it with small groups of students who are participating in long-term programs in Israel. In an hour and a half, these students are given a solid framework with which they can understand the process in the Knesset and how democracy works in Israel. These students often compare Israel's system to their own and gain a new perspective on the reality of Israel as opposed to the Israel that is seen on television through the prism of the media. To work with these young people from abroad the program was translated into Spanish and English and we hope to translate it into more languages.

Soldier/Police Workshops is a new program and was developed under the umbrella of Menachem Begin's heritage and the principles of value-driven leadership that he espoused. The Begin Center is one of the few places in Israel outside of the army that teaches leadership skills, using the workshop environment as an opportunity to learn and practice the methodologies being taught. Many units in the army and the Israeli Police force use the Begin Center exclusively for their leadership training, their team-building and their public service training. In fact, the Begin Center workshops are the only place that non-commissioned officers are provided leadership training.
Currently, there are five different types of workshops. Synergy, a team building workshop; Values-Driven Leadership, a role-playing simulation with scenarios that require a choice between two values; The Importance of Public Service, a workshop that helps illustrate the social importance of the work of the police and army; Israel as a Democratic and Jewish State, a workshop that revitalizes the importance of the ideals of Zionism; and Dilemmas of Military Leadership, which presents typical scenarios faced in the military and how to best handle them using the principles of leadership provided in the workshops.

Participants in the programs rate it very highly and have said, "the workshop was interesting, fun and unified the group," and "excellent workshop that came at the right time for our team and the things we learned will help us in the future." These comments illuminate one of the main goals for the workshops which is to teach these young people who are new to leadership to think in terms of values and long-term goals rather than only for the short-term outcome.

In order to encourage commanders to send their soldiers to the Begin Center, another program has been initiated to provide a sample of all the educational programs available. Groups of high-level commanders in the Israeli army are invited to come for an all-day series of activities. They go through the museum and they go on a tour outside of the Center that highlights a particular theme such as "From the Underground to Independence" or "Begin's Leadership". They participate in a workshop—one of the ones mentioned above. And, to complete the day, a lecturer is brought in based again on the theme for the day.

Your tax-deductible donation can help us to continue to provide these effective, dynamic, successful programs to a wider audience. Funds will be used to train facilitators, translate material into more languages, develop additional programming and provide young people the skills to lead, not just in the short term for a single goal, but for the long term and based on values that society holds dear.
Checks may be sent to:

US Friends of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation
3901 West 86th Street, Suite 470
Indianapolis, IN 46268

USA Canadian Friends of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation
One Yorkdale Road, Suite 601
Toronto, ON M6A 3A1
CANADA

Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation
c/o Mr. Eric Graus
139a, New Bond St.
London WIS 2TN
UK

Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation
6 Nahon Street
Jerusalem 94110
ISRAEL

People at the Begin Center

Two groups of recent visitors to the Center.


A. Tourists in the Museum, the Irgun Room:


B. Waiting to listen to a lecture during the Events Day of the Decade: