Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Center Bulletin, Vol. 3, No. 52

Volume 3, Issue 52
October 10, 2007

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 329,680

Menachem Begin Event in LA Successful

As we release this Bulletin, we have heard from Los Angeles that the Menachem Begin commemoration event on Tuesday evening 9 October was very successful. The Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel was completely full with 400 people who were enthusiastic about the life story of Menachem Begin and the reports about the existence and activities of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem.

A number of rabbis who addressed the gathering highly praised the work of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center which some of them had already visited.

Yechiel Kadishai, who was the personal secretary of Menachem Begin for many years, read appropriate extracts. Chassia Milo (Begin) was present and was warmly applauded by the audience.

Addresses were given by MK Gilad Erdan, the Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles, Ehud Danoch, and the Chairman of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem, Herzl Makov, who said:

After three years of operation, this Center has attracted more than 325,000 visitors from all over the world—Jews and non-Jews, young and old, religious and secular—who come from every facet of life in Israel, civilian and military—the army, the navy, the air force—students who are moved and inspired by the story of this great leader, this simple and modest man who changed the course of our history and above all was a real mensch.

Our aim is to do more and more in order to pass his message from generation to generation.

"In the Beginning" Once Again

Hundreds of people filled the Reuben Hecht Auditorium and the overflow in the Asper Foyer at the launch of the new season of the Rohr Family Parashat HaShavua lectures which will be given once more by Dr. Micha Goodman whose exciting presentations have been attracting large numbers of participants.

This is an appropriate time to announce that a specialist publisher started work on the first book of Parashat HaShavua lectures presented at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. The publication date is still some time away.

Israel Government Fellows Hold Junior Knesset

The Israel Government Fellows program continues with exciting new experiences for the participants from week to week. Last week, as mainly English speaking young people, they were among the first ever to be part of an English version of the Junior Knesset program held in the Reuben Hecht Auditorium. They were intrigued by the prospect of a simulated Knesset session which was moderated by Yisrael Medad, Information Resource Director of the Begin Center. At the end of the session, they all spoke enthusiastically about this program and hoped that there would be another such opportunity before the end of their 6 month experience.


October 6: Begin's Words about Sadat

Yom Kippur is a stark reminder of the war in 1973 in which Israel lost 2,688 soldiers. It is also a reminder that eight years later on the anniversary of that war, President Sadat was assassinated at the height of the military parade in Cairo to mark the anniversary.

Menachem Begin was deeply distressed by the death of his friend and peace partner and after the assassination, he issued a statement saying:

President Sadat fell victim to a criminal assassination. The people of Israel share in the mourning of the people of Egypt. We send our deepest condolences to Mrs. Sadat and the children. President Sadat was murdered by the enemies of peace. His decision to come to Jerusalem and the reception accorded to him by the people, the Knesset and the Government of Israel will be remembered as on of the great events of our time. President Sadat did not pay attention to abuse and hostility and went ahead with endeavors to abolish the state of war with Israel and to make peace with our nation. It was a difficult road. The President of the Unite States, Mr. Carter, the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, President Sadat, and I as Prime Minister of Israel and our colleagues resolved to do our utmost to reach the noble goal of establishing peace in our region. Unforgettable are the days of Camp David, and so is the hour in which the President of Egypt and the Prime Minister of Israel signed a treaty between our two countries and the President of the United States attached his signature as a witness to that historic act. Millions of peace loving people throughout the world rejoiced. During our many meetings personal friendship was established between us. I therefore lost today not only a partner to the peace process, but also a friend. The hearts of my wife and me go out to Mrs. Sadat and to all the bereaved family. May G-d console them in their grief. We hope that the peace process, despite the cruel act of his enemies, will continue, as we know President Sadat would wish with all his heart.

The Israeli Prime Minister decided that he would personally attend the funeral the following Saturday. Because of the Shabbat, he asked to be accommodated in a hotel near the burial place and he walked all the way to the ceremony. It required tremendous physical effort from him and, considering the circumstances, it was an act of great courage.

Later, Mrs. Jihan Sadat said, following the death of Menachem Begin, that she would never forget "how Prime Minister Begin came to Cairo for the funeral of my husband. It was on a Saturday and it was hot and Menachem Begin insisted on walking the entire way because of the holiness of the Sabbath. That won over my heart."