Thursday, August 16, 2007

Center Bulletin, Volume 3, Issue 44

Volume 3, Issue 44
August 16, 2007

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 320,595

Maj. Ro'i Klein to be Honored Again

Maj. Ro'i Klein z''l is one of the heroes of the Second War in Lebanon and his family is to receive his posthumous state medal for bravery at a special ceremony in the near future.

In fact, Maj. Ro'i Klein z''l received the Begin Prize award of honor for exceptional courage leadership and tenacity last year. "Just as Menachem Begin was throughout his life." At last year's ceremony, Harry Hurwitz, the founder of the Menachem Begin Commemoration Project, said that it was decided to award the prize and the awards of honor to heroic soldiers "the likes of which have not been seen by the people of Israel from the time of the Maccabees to the time of the Underground heroes that sacrificed themselves to protect their comrades and the State of Israel."

Maj. Ro'i Klein z''l led a group of soldiers when a grenade was flung their way. He was killed when he threw himself on top of the grenade thus protecting his soldiers.

Begin's Birthday Commemoration

There are not many events at which the audience is reluctant to leave when the curtain comes down finally. This is what happened at the evening of song, recollections and stories organized to celebrate the 94th birthday of Menachem Begin.

The Reuben Hecht Auditorium was filled to capacity with people who came to recall the great days of Menachem Begin and others who just love to sing in public. The organizers of the event covered the history of reborn Israel for almost the entire past century. The stories were told in songs whose words were on the screen complimented by additional historic photographs. The Chairman of the Management Committee of the Begin Center, Gershon Stav joined Edia Skulsky Gilad in presenting a number of songs by her father Shlomo Skulsky. The compeer Yehuda Blecher and his associates Uzi Rosenblatt and Lior Yanai kept the story going from beginning to end. It was an evening of nostalgia, joy and pride and, as the founder and President of the Begin Foundation, Harry Hurwitz, said: "It was an evening of thanksgiving to the Almighty that he sent a man to the Jewish people who made a monumental contribution to the change of the history of our people, the future of our people and the spirit of our people."

October Release Date for White Nights

The contracts have been signed between the well-known publishers Steimatsky and the Menachem Begin Heritage Center for the publication of a new edition (in English) of Menachem Begin's book White Nights. Like the special Hebrew edition that was published in 1995, this version contains extracts of the NKVD protocol of their interrogation of Menachem Begin in the Vilna prison which went on for days and nights, before he was sentenced to eight years in a correctional labor camp on the trumped up charged of being an agent of British imperialism.

The NKVD protocols were found after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the people in charge of the prison handed the files over to an Israeli journalist who, in turn brought it to Ze'ev Binyamin Begin, the son of the late Prime Minister. As he is not able to read Russian, he asked his friend Natan Sharansky to go over the files and eventually the material was cleverly incorporated in a new Hebrew edition of White Nights which was one of the first publications of the newly established Menachem Begin Heritage Center. After an interval of 12 years, this new version, with all the original material, will appear by the end of October.

30 Year Anniversary Plans

A representative body of personalities who were connected with the Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt met at the Begin Center last week to consider plans to observe the 30th anniversary of this whole process. Among those present were two of the early Israel ambassadors to Cairo, Mr. Ephraim Dubek and Mr. Zvi Mazel. Mr. Dov Segev-Steinberg represented the Foreign Ministry, while Dan Pattir (who was Menachem Begin's media advisor) and Yechiel Kadishai represented members of Begin staff who were at Camp David with him. The Menachem Begin Heritage Center, which is initiating an elaborate program of activities covering the events from Sadat's historic visit to Jerusalem till the signing of the Peace Treaty in March 1979, was represented by the Founder and President, Harry Hurwitz, and the Chairman of the Center, Herzl Makov, and the Academic Coordinator Moshe Fuksman-Sha'al. Dr. Meir Rosenne, who was a legal advisor at Camp David, will participate in future meetings.

Readers of this bulletin will be apprised of events as they are finalized. The historic Sadat visit to Israel which was initiated by Menachem Begin took place on November 19, 1977.

Film on Disengagement

A film called Mishak Beiti or Home Game was screened in the Reuben Hecht Auditorium on Friday marking the Disengagement two years ago. The film is a documentary following the basketball team of Netzer Hazani, a community that was in Gush Katif. The movie begins at the annual basketball tournament which is the night before the disengagement begins. One viewer found it difficult to describe her feeling while watching the movie. She said it was "Amazing. Painful. You have to see this movie."

After the screening there was a discussion with the director and producer.

Junior Knesset Ready for the New Year

Snir Zaidel, the Educational Coordinator, presented the completed new manual for the Junior Knesset program to the heads of the Begin Project at the beginning of this week. It is a detailed presentation of all aspects of the preparation in schools by the teachers and pupils before they come to Jerusalem for the Junior Knesset session.

The outline of the program was prepared by Herzl Makov, Dr. Ann Kirson Swersky (the initiator of the program), Yisrael Medad, Director of Information Resources, and Snir Zaidel. As soon as the new school year opens, schools will start preparing their visits to Jerusalem as part of the Junior Knesset program.

Recently, a plaque was unveiled at the entrance to the section of the Reuben Hecht Auditorium where the Junior Knesset takes place. The plaque recognizes the special contribution of the Asper Foundation and of Jane and Larry Sherman to the Junior Knesset. This week, an additional contribution was received through Mr. Hart Hasten, President of the US Friends of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation.