Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Center Bulletin Vo. 4, No. 24

Volume 4, Issue 24
March 26, 2008

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 385,959

"Avshalom, Avshalom"

The Begin Center hosted, as co-sponsor, a most memorable and stirring evening commemorating Avshalom Feinberg, one of Israel's courageous pre-state heroes who was a leader of the Nili spy ring during World War I. Together with the initiator, the Uri Tzvi Greenberg Heritage House under the directorship of Geula Cohen, they welcomed an overflow crowd of some 450 persons sitting in both the Hecht Auditorium and the Lecture Hall, where a closed-circuit broadcast was made available, and witnessed an emotional and informative event for over two hours.

Following a short film reenacting Feinberg's life and death as well as the rediscovery of his grave under a palm tree near Rafiah, Micha Yinon, head of the Culture Ministry's Popular Culture Department, greeted the assembled participants.

Center Chairman, Herzl Makov then spoke of the exclusion and inclusion in the nation's pantheon of memory.

His words were warmly received.

The evening, emceed by Dan Kaner, was interspersed with testimony in film and sound, songs, family reminiscences and academic analysis of Nili's wartime contribution, by Dr. Ronen Bergman.

The famous actor Haim Topol thrilled the audience with his reading of selected poems composed by Avshalom Feinberg.

Former Labor MK Tamar Eshel, a frequent guest at the Center, spoke of Avshalom Feinberg who was her uncle. The evening ended with the singing of HaTikva and many of the guests were observed wiping tears from their eyes.

Unique Event in Warsaw

Sixty-five years after the start of the Uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943, an historic event will take place at Muranowska Square, Warsaw, where the headquarters of the ZZW were located. The ZZW was the fighting organization of the Betar and Irgun in Warsaw headed by Pavel Frankel. < /SPAN>Their tenacious fight caught the Germans completely by surprise.

In a unique event on Tuesday, April 15, the plaque will be unveiled by the President of Israel, Shimon Peres; former Israel Defense and Foreign Minister Moshe Arens (who initiated the whole process to get the ZZW role officially recognized); Yechiel Kadishai, Chairman of the Public Council of the Begin Center; representatives of Betar; and the Jabotinsky Order. Moshe Fuksman-Sha'al, who is organizing the event, will be present as a representative of the Begin Center. Polish government officials and Warsaw City officials are expected to be in attendance.

Pesach at the Begin Center

With Pesach rapidly approaching, visitors from abroad and Israelis are urged to make reservations ahead of time if they intend to visit the Begin Museum during the Chol HaMoed Pesach Days.

Special arrangements have been made by the Center to keep the museum open till 7:00pm when the last group will go into the museum.

The White Nights restaurant will be closed during that period, but arrangements will be made for a drinks service for visitors.

Official Visit by Oved Yeheskel

Oved Yeheskel, the Secretary to the Government of Israel, paid an official visit to the Begin Center on Tuesday. He was received by the Founder and President of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation, Harry Hurwitz, and the Chairman of the Begin Center, Herzl Makov who briefed him on various aspects of the activities of the Begin Center, the plans and their aspirations. They accompanied him on the museum tour at the end of which he said that he now understands fully why visitors from all parts of Israel and from abroad were so impressed when they came to the Begin Center.

Mr. Yeheskel was accompanied by Avi Wiederman, advisor to the Prime Minister.

Meeting of the "Camp David Committee"

Another meeting of the "Camp David Committee," which originally planned the program of activities to mark the events leading up to the visit of President Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem at the invitation of Prime Minister Menachem Begin 30 years ago and all that followed including the Camp David discussions, took place at the Begin Center this week.

At this latest meeting the participants included Prof. Efraim Inbar, the Director of the BESA Institute at the Bar Ilan University; Advocate Meir Rosenne, who had been the Foreign Ministry advisor in the whole process and later Israel's ambassador to France and the US; Mr. Avi Entebbe, from the Egyptian Department of Israel's Foreign Ministry; Mrs. Levana Zamir, head of the Israel-Egypt Friendship Association; Mr. Efraim Dubek, former ambassador to Egypt; and Dan Pattir, who was Menachem Begin's media advisor. The Begin Center was represented by Harry Hurwitz, Founder and President of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation and Herzl Makov, Chairman of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center and Moshe Fuksman-Sha'al, Deputy Director of the Center in charge of events. The group discussed the program which will take place over the next three years to commemorate major events including the meetings at Camp David in September 1978; the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat on December 10, 1978; and the signing of the Israel Egypt Peace Treaty on 26 March 1979, which was a major turning point in Israel-Egypt relations and a break-through for Israel in the region.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Center Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 23

Volume 4, Issue 23
March 19, 2008

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 384,097

16th Yahrzeit of Menachem Begin

The 16th anniversary of the death of Menachem Begin was observed in many ways in different parts of the country.

First, there was the family ceremony at the grave on the Mount of Olives to which Knesset Member Binyamin Netanyahu, leader of the Likud Opposition, and also other members of the Knesset and the past Deputy Prime Minister David Levy.

Immediately after that there was a program of reminiscences at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in which hundreds of people participated. The event was emceed by Herzl Makov, Chairman of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, who spoke during the evening about the leadership role of Menachem Begin and his great impact on the nation over the years.

Harry Hurwitz, Founder and President of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation, recalled several examples to illustrate that Menachem Begin never gave up his ideals and principles to gain popularity with the public in Israel or abroad.

Yechiel Kadishai, Begin's personal secretary, recalled a number of his actions and quoted from his statements about the Warsaw Ghetto Revolt.

Prof. Moshe Arens spoke of the role of members of Betar and the Irgun Zvai Leumi in the Warsaw Ghetto Revolt. This chapter of history was completely overlooked in the stories emanating from the Establishment and is now rapidly coming to the fore.

Yair Stern, son of the late Avraham (Yair) Stern, whose 100th birthday was marked recently by the State, paid high tribute to Menachem Begin for always recalling and honoring his father's memory on the anniversary of his death under the most difficult wintry conditions year after year.

The poet Eliaz Cohen, this year's Prime Minister's Prize winner for poetry, read extracts from his poems on the attitude to the Underground and paid tribute to them.

The last speaker was Dr. Udi Lebel, author of the popular book On the Way to the Pantheon which deals with the discrimination by David Ben Gurion and his governments against fighters of the Irgun and Lehi who were denied State recognition and veteran rights.

A number of songs were sung by Shalva Berti who recently appeared in New York at the reopening of the Plaza Hotel.

"Avshalom, Avshalom"

Another facet of the Aaronsohn saga will be portrayed at the Begin Center next week when a program under the title "Avshalom, Avshalom" will be presented by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport; the Uri Tzvi Greenberg Heritage House; and the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. It is the story of one of the members of the NILI spy organization of World War I, Avshalom Feinberg, who died in the desert.

Among the speakers will be former Knesset Member Tamar Eshel, who is the niece of Avshalom Feinberg. Haim Topol will read appropriate extracts about this group.

Herzl Makov, Chairman of the Begin Center, will open the proceedings and Geula Cohen, Director of the Uri Zvi Greenberg Heritage House will describe an interview she had with Rivka Aaronsohn, sister of Sarah Aaronsohn. The event will be filmed for television's Educational Channel as well as recorded for broadcast by Galei Tzahal, the Army Radio.

Two More Books to be Launched at the Begin Center

Gefen Publishers will be launching two more books (in Hebrew) which they have just produced. Both deal with the strong support for Israel by the large and influential Evangelical Christian community in the US and elsewhere. The books are: In Defense of Israel by Pasto r John Hagee and Standing with Israel by David Brog.

Pastor John Hagee himself will participate in the event and will speak about the role of the Evangelical community in the US. He is one of the most effective and powerful leaders of that community.

David Brog lectures all over the US and was an attorney in Israel and Philadelphia and also worked in the US Senate.

Harry Hurwitz, Founder and President of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation will bring greetings to the audience and Knesset Member Benny Alon, Chairman of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus will make opening remarks.

The guest speaker for the occasion is Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat who will address the topic of the importance of Christian-Jewish relations for Israel.

The event will take place on Friday, April 4 at 10:45am at the Begin Center. Reservations are required and should be made to:
or 02-538-0247


Len Kohll, who was head of Betar in South Africa at the time of Menachem Begin's first visit to that country in 1953, visited Israel after an internval of many years last week. He was warmly received by his former colleagues and by the Founder and President of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation, Harry Hurwitz, and his wife, Freda. Kohll brought some interesting archival material to the Center and was highly impressed by everything he saw and did on his short visit. He complimented the founders and head of the Institution and all who work for it and in it.

He was brought to Jerusalem by Hertzel Katz, a member of the International Board of the Heritage Foundation and his two children, Sharon and Baruch.

New Center Brochure in Hebrew

A very attractive new Hebrew brochure about the Begin Center has been produced and is now available to visitors and at various hotels and other public institutions in Jerusalem and elsewhere. Unusual photographs of the exterior of the building and many interior shots make this a useful little guide in itself. It provid es technical information about the hours of operation and stresses the need for reservations to join tours. There is also a small map showing the location of the Begin Center and various ways of getting there.

This brochure will be coming out soon in English.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Yehuda Avner's The Scarlet Pimpernel

Bygone Days: The Scarlet Pimpernel

The bus slowed as it approached the bustling intersection dissecting Tel Aviv from Jaffa, where a sinewy Arab constable, perched on a pedestal under a sun shade, and dressed in short pants and a fur fez, directed the traffic with a truncheon. Abruptly, he began blowing his whistle and swung his arms around like a windmill, doing his bungling best to halt the traffic while two English policemen darted across the road, their revolvers at the ready. Another bus, clearly unaware of anything amiss, swerved around the corner and crashed into an empty cart that had halted in the middle of the road. The cart rolled onto its side, knocking down an Arab clutching a sack of oranges. The Arab groaned in pain, his oranges spilling and bouncing all over the road, causing even more chaos.

The bus driver agitatedly jumped to his feet, and cried, "Look -they're chasing someone. He's throwing leaflets. He must be an Irgunist."

Leaflets fluttered around the intersection like so many laundered kerchiefs flapping in the wind, displaying an ill-printed Irgun broadside: "JEWS ARISE! FREE THE HOMELAND OF THE BRITISH OPPRESSOR!"

The flyer was crowned by an emblem in the form of a rifle thrust aloft by a clenched fist, and ringed by the motto, "ONLY THUS!" It was the insignia of the Irgun.

All keyed up, the driver stuck his head out of the window to get a better view, and gasped, "Oh my God, they've got him cornered. They're beating him up. He's bleeding."

Two middle-aged passengers, white faced, clung fast to each other, standing on their tip-toes trying to peer over the driver's shoulders. A schoolgirl with long fair plats and a satchel on her back, sat paralyzed, eyes riveted to the floor, pressing her hands to her ears. An old Hassid screwed up his face in repugnance upon seeing people on the other side of the street gazing in fright upon a young man - just a boy really - lying prone on the curbside, his arms twisted behind his back, manacled. Blood oozed from a gash at the nape of his neck, staining the collar of his gray windjammer. And as he lay there face down on his belly amid his scattered leaflets, with his khaki trousers crumpled to his knees and his dark-blue beret askew on his curly ginger head, he kicked blindly and futilely at a British soldier who, with one steel-studded boot on his shoulder and the other in the small of his back, had him pinioned to the ground like a maimed steer.

THE TWO English policemen with the revolvers came panting back and, gesticulating at the jammed traffic, barked orders to systematically sort it out, and open up a lane to let a Black Maria through. They flung the handcuffed lad into this mobile dungeon, and soon the intersection returned to normal.

A bearded passerby, attired in the long-coated, dusty garb of a humble, God-fearing Jew, his black fedora dented by wear and tear, stared upon the scene with suppressed rage. Head bent, he walked through the check post adjacent to the crossroad manned by British policemen who, in their starched ironed uniforms, brassy belts, navy-blue peaked caps, and polished boots, seemed invincible. None gave the weary-eyed, pious Jew a second look as he walked by, not noticing his fleeting glance at the poster plastered onto the wall by the check post, which read: "WANTED: MENACHEM BEGIN DEAD OR ALIVE TEN THOUSAND POUNDS REWARD FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO HIS CAPTURE."

Gazing back at him from the heart of the poster was a grainy, grimy, unshaven, lean, coffin-like face with piecing black eyes framed in spectacles, and with the desperate stare of a man on the run. The image looked nothing like the Jew peeking at it.

BY THE TIME he reached his house - a ramshackle tiny home in a nondescript refuse-strewn side street called Yehoshau Bin-Nun - the sun had begun to set. He was about to place his key in the lock when a man on the other side of the street called out loudly, "Reb Yisrael Sassover - we need you for the mincha minyan" [afternoon prayer quorum]. The man had to shout because of the cacophony of chained dogs barking from the municipal dogs' home on one side of the little house, and doomed cattle mooing and snorting in the municipal abattoir on the other side. Given the noise, the smell, and the flies, few people ventured down Yehoshua Bin-Nun Street, which is precisely why its occupant chose to live there.

Reb Yisrael Sassover shouted back, "I shall join you presently, Reb Simcha. I just have to tell my wife I'm home." Reb Simcha, a short, round-bellied, red bearded fellow, full of good cheer and goodly deeds, was the beadle of the shtiebel - the homey, intimate neighborhood synagogue on a parallel street.

As Reb Yisrael Sassover entered his frugal home the chief of operations of the Irgun underground army sighed in relief: "Menachem, thank God your back. We were getting worried." "I'll get you some tea," said his wife, Aliza without fuss.

"They're expecting me in shule for mincha," Menachem Begin told them. "I must go. I won't be long."

It was 1947, and the revolt against the British rule of Palestine was at its height. As commander of the Irgun Menachem Begin had adopted a variety of guises - Pimpernel style - to avoid British detection. He had been a down-and-out law student, an out-of-pocket solicitor, and presently he was Reb Yisrael Sassover - a run-of-the-mill, unpretentious, deeply observant, God-fearing Jew, without much of a livelihood, and seemingly incapable of ever making one, subsisting, so local gossip had it, on his wife's dowry, poor thing.

THERE WAS absolutely nothing about the man to stamp him as an underground fighter, let alone a commander-in-chief. He was no gunman, no dashing, heroic-looking rebel, no ruthless-looking killer type, no poet of insurrection ripe for legend. In fact, a British dossier of the day titled "The Jewish Terrorist Index" profiled him as having "a long, hooked nose, bad teeth, and horn-rimmed spectacles." Time and again the British army and police on the look-out for him would pass him by without a second glance.

Nevertheless, besides its obvious perils, leading this secret life had its ludicrous complications, as happened that day at the end of the mincha service. His fellow congregants were a hardworking bunch of pious laborers, small shopkeepers, artisans and craftsman who, over the course of time, had grown fond of him and he of them. Some were Irgunists, unbeknownst to one another because of the tightly isolated underground cells. Reb Simcha, the beadle, was a fellow traveler, too.

On the way out from the mincha service Reb Simcha accosted Reb Yisrael Sassover, and said to him with a benevolent smile, "Reb Yisrael, I have a mitzva for you to perform."

"You do? Thank you, I'll be happy to do a good deed," said Reb Yisrael returning the smile. 'What is it?"

"Our butcher, Reb Dovid, needs a favor."

"What kind of a favor?"

"In order for him to get his kosher certification renewed he needs two witnesses that he is totally Shomer Shabbos - observant in every way. Since all the other congregants are hard at work all day and you seem to have time on your hands. I want you to come with me to the chief rabbinate's office to testify on his behalf. It's just a mere formality; won't take long. The dayanim [rabbinical judges] will ask you a few questions, that's all."

Begin shifted uneasily, not sure how to answer. To be cross- examined by such sharp-eyed scholarly types could unmask him totally.

"You have a problem with this, Reb Yisrael?" asked Reb Simcha, surprised at the shilly-shallying.

"Of course not," replied Begin pulling himself together, knowing that his chief operations officer was awaiting his urgent return to approve a vital action against a British police station that was to take place in a few hours time. So he said, "I know Reb Dovid is a truly honest man with impeccable kosher credentials, but..."

"But what? All you have to do is to tell that to the dayanim. They'll believe you."

"I'm sure they will. It's just that…"

"Just that, what?" returned the beadle, baffled.

"It's just that you'll have to ask somebody else," said Begin in his distinctive husky voice, as he made for the door.

"Somebody else?" Reb Simcha called after him impatiently. "What's wrong with you, Reb Yisrael - you're so busy all of a sudden?"

Begin paused at the exit. "Yes," he said, "I am."

"With what?"

"Urgent things - things I have to attend to myself."

"What kind of urgent things?" Reb Simcha's face was a picture of skepticism and sarcasm.

"Important things," answered Begin uncomfortably, not wanting to tell a lie but unable to tell the truth.

"Bah!" huffed the beadle, and he swung on his heels in disgust.

A year later, on a lovely mid-May evening, after the Sabbath had ended, Reb Simcha was sitting at home with two of his shule goers, one a stone mason, the other a plumber, drinking a l'chayim to the new Jewish state which had been declared the day before. And as they sipped their schnapps they had their ears glued to the radio listening to Menachem Begin's husky voice declaring, "Citizens of the Jewish homeland, the rule of oppression has been expelled. The State of Israel has arisen…"

Reb Simcha's eyebrows arched into triangles. "I know that voice," he muttered. "Shah, shtil!" [Yiddish for shut up!], admonished the mason, trying to take possession of every word the Irgun commander was saying.

"The State of Israel has arisen through blood and fire," intoned Begin…"

The three sat back, incredulous.

"We Jews now govern ourselves…"

"It's him," they exclaimed in unison.

Awestruck, they listened in exultation as the man they knew as Reb Yisrael Sassover raised his voice in peroration, and declared, "The Irgun is now leaving the underground. From now on we are all builders and soldiers of Israel."

Center Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 12

Volume 4, Issue 22
March 12, 2008

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 382,727

Prime Minister and Kadima Party at the BC

A number of the members of the Kadima Knesset faction—a few Ministers among them—their aides and security people came to the Begin Center to tour the Begin Museum a day prior to the 16th anniversary of Begin's passing.

At the end of their tour of the museum, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also arrived to meet with the faction.

They convened on the archives floor under strict security control. There, Herzl Makov, Head of the Begin Center, welcomed them and spoke of the tragic event in Jerusalem on Thursday night which preceded their visit.

"There is a need for stricter security in public buildings and institutions," said Makov, "a greater awareness of the danger toward us, wherever we go." He expressed sorrow at the deaths of these young children and extended condolences to the grieving families.

Recollections of meetings with Menachem Begin and his unique role in the life of the nation were given by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Minister of Housing Ze'ev Boim. Both print and electronic media covered this event.

Hasten Family Library Featured in Ha'Aretz

Every Wednesday, Ha'Aretz newspaper includes a Book Supplement in its daily newspaper with reviews and news about the local and foreign literary world. One of its human interest sections is the inclusion of stories about personal and institutional libraries. Questions asked include such as "How many volumes?", "Your oldest book?" and "Your favorite books?"

Last week, the Begin Center's Hasten Family Library was highlighted. Our librarian, Bruriah Romanoff Ben Senior, was interviewed and her picture, holding a portrait of Menachem Begin, was prominently featured. Bruriah replied to some two-dozen questions such as:

Type of library: It is a reference library, with very limited lending

How many volumes: 3,500

Special attraction: The two books found at Begin's bedside which are the last things he was reading before he died

Unique aspect of the library: Some of the books are from Begin's private library and quite a few of those books are inscribed by the author with personal dedications to Begin

Oldest book: A book published in London in 1868

Begin Foundation Well-Represented at TelFed Ceremony

The Israel section of the South African Zionist Federation, which was established 60 years ago and known as TelFed, held a unique ceremony last week to award certificates of recognition to 27 persons who have made special contributions in many fields of activity in Israel.

Among them was Shmuel Katz, the very well-known historian and biographer and five members of the International Board of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation who are Harry Hurwitz, founder and President of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation; Smoky Simon, Honorary Treasurer; Mendel Kaplan; Hertzel Katz and Dr. Ann Kirson Swersky.

At the end of the ceremony, Harry Hurwitz was asked to speak on behalf of all the honorees.

In Memoriam

We deeply regret to record the death of Julius Kaplan, husband of the late Ida Kaplan who predeceased him by 8 months. Julius Kaplan, who was a leader of the World Betar, an active supporter of the Irgun and one of the founders of the Jabotinsky Order, was a member of the well-known Kaplan family of Kroonstat, South Africa. There are n ow three members of that family still alive—Prof. Isaac Kaplan, Ruth Greenman and Esther Fluxman.

Julius is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Shmuel and Miriam Kaplan, and his daughter and son-in-law, Ilana and Moshe Navot, and grandchildren.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Begin Center Bulletin, Volume 4, Issue 21

Volume 4, Issue 21
March 5, 2008

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 379,786

The Aaronsohn Saga Book Launch

The Begin Center was the venue of a most remarkable event on Friday, February 29, when the book launching of Shmuel Katz's The Aaronsohn Saga took place. Sponsored by Gefen Publishing, headed by Ilan Greenfield, the event was highlighted by the presence of Sir Martin Gilbert, author of dozens of books and most importantly, the biography of Winston Churchill.

Some 140 guests took their seats at the Reuben Hecht Auditorium after first enjoying some refreshments. Present were, among others, Moshe Arens, the former Foreign Minister and Defense Minister; Caroline Glick, the Jerusalem Post columnist; Dr. Yehdua Lapidot, Irgun historian; Dr. Moshe Yegar, Foreign Ministry veteran diplomat and many others, including Hart Hasten, President of the American Friends of the Begin Foundation as well as Center Chairman, Herzl Makov and Tamar Eshel, former Labour MK, niece of Avshalom Feinberg, NILI hero.

Ilan Greenfield emceed the event and expressed his honor that such a book was published by his firm. Harry Hurwitz, founder and president of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation, warmly greeted "Moekie" Katz and suggested that if Israel were to adopt the British tradition, then Moekie Katz would be one of Israel's knighted gentlemen. Sir Martin Gilbert then addressed the audience, first relating to Aaron Aaronsohn and his achievements. He noted that he was one of the three Zionists most responsible for the Balfour Declaration, along with Ze'ev Jabotinsky and Chaim Weizmann. He then went on to praise Shmuel Katz and reminisced about their 30 year relationship.

Shmuel Katz then took center stage, speaking from his wheelchair. He thanked the Center, Mr. Hurwitz and Sir Martin for their kind words and continued, touching on several topics including history, Zionism and the current prospects for Israel in a wide-ranging talk. He was closely listened to and received a standing ovation at the end of his remarks. The audience remained behind to talk with Moekie and many expressed their excitement at being privileged to have attended such an historic event.

Begin Center Neighborhood in the Jerusalem Post

In a wonderful article about the area in which the Begin Heritage Center is situated by Aviva Bar-Am, the story is told of St. Andrew's Church on the hill overlooking the valley, the old railway station 100 meters away and the Begin Center. The writer speaks of the archeological treasures in the area and says

"To reach the excavations, descend the driveway and turn right to reach the Begin Heritage Center. Ask when you can join a tour, and while waiting, have a cup of tea or a bite to eat on the balcony across from the Old City walls.

The unusual tour of the Heritage Center follows a young Menachem Begin from his hometown in Poland to his years in the Jewish underground, as leader of the Israeli opposition, prime minister and finally to his withdrawal from public life.

Begin, a passionate Zionist, activist and charismatic head of state, was prime minister during a particularly crucial time in Israeli history. Through multimedia innovations, films and pictures, an entire era comes to life before your eyes.

After you finish the tour exit the center through the glass doors leading to Derech Hebron. Then turn right and climb the steps at the edge of the building. You have reached part of a vast system of Jewish burial caves from the First Temple Period that contains nearly 150 rock-hewn caves.

In 1979, archeologists discovered an almost undisturbed tomb. Inside, along with arrowheads, ivory objects and gold and silver earrings, there were two small silver scrolls that may have been worn as good luck charms around the neck. The scrolls contained the words of the priestly benediction in Numbers 6:24-26 almost word for word: "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you...."

The Begin Center also recently published a booklet entitled The Menachem Begin Heritage Center and Its Vicinity elaborates on the area. The booklet is available for purchase at the souvenir shop in the Begin Center.

Begin's 16th Yahrzeit

A large crowd is expected at the Evening of Remembrance of Menachem Begin at the Begin Center following the family graveside gathering. Brief remarks will be addressed during The Evening of Remembrance by people who were personally connected with Menachem Begin or are now involved in study and research of his life and work including Dr. Udi Lebel, the author of On the Road to the Pantheon, which has now appeared in its second edition, Yair Stern and Moshe Arens. This will be followed by some singing. The response so far to the notices shows a great interest in the occasion.

The event takes place on Tuesday, March 11, at 5:30pm. Reservations are absolutely necessary at (02) 565-2020 or via email at

"The Perfect Gentleman"

In a letter to the Jerusalem Post Prof. Monte Zion, who was at the time head of cardiology at the Sha'are Tzedek hospital, wrote about Menachem Begin's respect for people in high standing such as his senior doctors.

Prof. Zion wrote:

Shimshon Arad referred to Menachem Begin's being influenced by the Polish nationalist and militarist legacy, as exemplified by his standing up and saluting whenever a general entered the room. Based on personal experience, I would suggest that this was an example of his well-known gentlemanly behavior.

When Mr. Begin was a patient in Shaare Zedek Hospital for major surgery, I was the cardiologist responsible for overseeing his cardiac condition. I visited him twice daily, and on every occasion that I entered his ward, he stood up out of his chair and extended his hand to greet me.


Mr. David Krakow and his wife Miriam visited the Begin Center last week to present some documents to the archives which they brought from New York. They are copies of reports and documents from the early years of the Irgun Zvai Leumi, then under the command of Menachem Begin.

Mrs. Krakow is the sister of Prof. Moshe Arens and they are very impressed and moved by the Begin Center, its appearance and contents.

* * * * *

Mr. Hart Hasten, the President of the US Friends of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation, who was in Jerusalem on a short visit held discussions with the Founder and President of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation, Harry Hurwitz, and the Chairman of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, Herzl Makov.

Mr. Hasten also attended the unusual event on Friday morning, 29 February, at which the book The Aaronsohn Saga by Shmuel Katz was launched.