Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Begin Center Bulletin, Vol. 4, Issue 8

Volume 4, Issue 8
December 5, 2007

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 345,874

60 Years Ago: The Inevitability of the Jewish State

The festive State celebration of the 60th anniversary of the UN resolution regarding the future of Palestine which was adopted on 29 November 1947 recalls the remarkable meeting in Tel Aviv between the Chairman of the UN Committee on Palestine, Judge Sandstrom, Dr. Victor Hoo, the Assistant Secretary General of the UN Organization, and Dr. Ralph Bunch, Secretary of the UN Organization Trustee Council, with Menachem Begin, Commander of the Irgun Zvai Leumi, Chaim Landau and Shmuel Katz. The details of the meeting were desc ribed by Begin in his first book, The Revolt.

In the course of the meeting Menachem Begin said, "What we wish is complete evacuation of the British, the removal of British rule, the setting up of a provisional government and the creation of a Jewish State."

He stated that the Irgun consider themselves lawful fighters engaged in a legitimate fight and that they considered the British to be here illegally. He said that the Irgun is absolutely convinced that it fights not only for the independence of Palestine, but for the rights of all free men.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Dr. Sandstrom said: "I am sorry that the other members of the Committee could not hear you. We shall report to them, but there is always a difference in effect in what you hear for yourself and what you hear second hand." Dr. Hoo left saying, "Au revoir, in an independent Palestine." And Dr. Bunch was the warmest of all. Shaking Begin's hand he explained feelingly. "I can understand you. I am also a member of a personal minority."

A few days later, it was revealed that the British were angry that such a meeting took place. "We have been looking for him for five years!" It was pointed out. "And we have not succeeded in getting anywhere near him. Yet, it appears that the Chairman of the UN Committee found him with the greatest of ease."

The Irgun leader subsequently met the South American members of the Committee, Dr. Granados of Guatemala and Prof. Fabregat of Uruguay. Both had been in exile and underground while fighting against tyranny in their own countries.

When, at the end of the meeting, they learned with whom they had been speaking, they were overcome with emotion. Fabregat put his arms around Begin's shoulders and hugged him and declared "We are brothers in arms." Begin replied, "All the world's fighters for freedom are one family."

All this is recalled to stress that it was not the UN vote that created the State of Israel, but the Zionist struggle of many years which terminated in the struggle of the underground movements that obliged the British to hand back the mandate for Palestine to the UN. The meeting on 29 November gave recognition to the inevitability of the rise of the Jewish State.


Chag Chanukah Sameach!

from the Menachem Begin Heritage Center


Leonard Asper Stops by the Begin Center

Mr. Leonard Asper, President and CEO of CanWest Global Communications Corp., came to the Begin Center on Monday for a meeting with the Fo under, Harry Hurwitz and the Chairman of the Center, Herzl Makov. He was accompanied by the Director of his office, Mr. Michael Woollatt.

In the morning, he had made a deep impression at the Ariel University Center of Samaria where he was the keynote speaker at an all-day conference on "The Media and the Middle East," which is held annually in memory of the late David Bar Illan.

In his 40 minute address, Asper spoke of Israel's PR battle and analyzed some suggestions and failures that he had in defending Israel's position. His late father, Izzy Asper, had fought a valiant battle in this area on television, radio and the print media. It was he who had initiated strong roots in Israel by his connections with various important institutions such as the Menachem Begin Heritage Center of which the family is very proud.

Leonard Asper was shown several new features in the building which were not yet completed at the time of his visit several years ago.


The mayor of Haifa, Mr. Yona Yahav and his wife came unannounced at the beginning of the week to the Begin Center. They viewed the "30 years after Sadat's visit" exhibition and then went into the Menachem Begin Museum, which impressed them very much. They said afterwards that they hoped to arrange a visit for their children to such an important and impressive place.

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Benny Raphael, who presently lives in Ohio, but is originally from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, visited the Begin Center where he met briefly with its Founder, Harry Hurwitz.