Thursday, May 3, 2007

Center Bulletin, Volume 3, Issue 29

May 3, 2007

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 277,945

Sins of Omission: Where Was Menachem Begin?

In a detailed letter to the Jerusalem Post the Head of the Begin Center, Harry Hurwitz, pointed out the almost total omission of Menachem Begin from the Jerusalem Post's Yom HaAtzmaut supplement to mark the State's 59 years. There was not a single picture of Begin in the 146 page supplement and very few mentions of his historic role in those 59 years. Hurwitz's letter was published on May 1, 2007 with the following footnote:

The editor responds: The content of the Independence Day 5767 magazine was drawn from articles that had appeared in the Post over the years on Independence Day. There was, of course, no deliberate attempt to downplay Menachem Begin's central role in the evolution of Israel, and we are happy to help redress the balance a little by publishing Begin's portrait, together with a historic "three-man" photo at the White House in 1978.

And this is the letter by Hurwitz which appeared in the paper:


When we received the Jerusalem Post special "Independence Day 5767" magazine we eagerly paged through it to see the kaleidoscope of our country's first 59 years. But imagine our dismay when there appears to have been an obvious attempt to downplay the role of Menachem Begin by the usual technique of ignoring his role in text and in pictures. It is difficult to believe that in all 146 pages there is not a single picture of Menachem Begin—even in a group. And even in events which he initiated, his name is excluded.

"1967 Time Line: Moshe Dayan joins Cabinet as Minister of Defense. Unity government formed." The dramatic entry of Menachem Begin into the Unity Government is ignored especially since he had much to do with its creation.

In the years 1977 and 1978, Begin won the Knesset election (reported but no photograph); Sadat paid his historic visit to Israel at Begin's invitation (this fact is not mentioned and no photograph); Begin and Sadat receive the Nobel Prize (mentioned but no photograph); Begin launches Project Renewal—Israel's important socio-economic program—not mentioned and no photograph.

1979—Signing of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty on the lawn of the White House, mentioned but no photograph, even though the whole world featured the famous three-man handshake, including the Jerusalem Post on its front page that day.

1981—Israel's attack on Iraq's nuclear reactor at Osirak near Baghdad which Abba Eban described as "one of the most remarkable decisions in the nuclear age." Mentioned, but no reference to Begin!

How are these sins of omission explained?

Kollek Revelation "Shocked Many" – S. Katz

"The recent revelation that during the revolt against British rule in Palestine Teddy Kollek was engaged in his younger life in having Jewish underground fighters handed over to the British police came as a shock to many people in the country." With these words Shmuel Katz opened a powerful article that appeared in the Jerusalem Post on May 1, 2007, under the headline "They hunted us like animals."

Katz, who was a member of the Irgun High Command at the time, denounced the role of Ben Gurion, Kollek and Chaim Weizman who were in touch with the British Authorities and handed over hundreds of Irgun and Lehi fighters. Many of them were exiled to prison camps in Africa for three or four years.

Songs from the Days of the Underground

An evening of songs from the days of the Underground will take place in the Menachem Begin Heritage Center on Monday 7 May at 7:30pm.

It is one of the events in the general festivities marking 40 years after the liberation and unification of Jerusalem.

It is also dedicated to the memory of the late Shlomo Skulski who wrote songs for the Underground movements. Up to the time of the release of this bulletin 174 persons have already reserved seats. The admission fee is 30 shekels.

Mark Your Calendars: Shavuot May 22-23

As in previous years, so now, the Begin Center will be the venue for an all-night Shavuot study session, discussion, songs and reminiscences. Many, many hundreds are expected to participate in this meaningful celebration which starts on the evening of Tuesday, 22 May.

In Memoriam

We deeply regret to record the death of Prof. Michael Blumenthal, husband of Naomi Blumenthal, who was for many years a member of the Knesset.

Prof. Blumenthal was a member of the State appointed Council of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center and served in that capacity for the first session since its establishment. He was one of the great innovators and developers in the field of medical specialization in eye surgery which has benefited thousands of people in Israel and from abroad.

Prof. Blumenthal is survived by his wife, children and grandchild.


Josh Hasten, son of Hart and Simona Hasten of Indianapolis and who is a resident of Jerusalem, came to the Begin Center for a discussion with the heads of the Begin Center.

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Prof. Fredrick Krantz, Director of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research and the Vice Principal of the Liberal Arts College of Concordia University both of which are in Montreal, Canada, was at the Begin Center on Tuesday for a discussion with the Director General, Herzl Makov, who spent several years in Montreal as a representative of the Jewish Agency