Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Center Bulletin Vol. 4, No. 29

Volume 4, Issue 29
April 30, 2008

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 395,992

The Start of the Busiest Season

A large number of visitors is expected at the Begin Center on Yom HaShoah which this year will mark 65 years since the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto. This event is being organized in cooperation with the Jabotinsky Institute, The Betar Youth Movement and the Jabotinsky Order of Israel.

On Yom HaZikharon, a large family group from Florida will be at the Begin Center as well as groups from different parts of the world. On that day and the next, Yom HaAtzmaut, the Begin Center will distribute to all visitors a copy of Menachem Begin's historic speech he made on the end of the struggle on the Saturday evening following the procla mation of Israel's independence on Friday, May 14 on the Irgun secret radio. This was his last speech as commander of the Irgun Zvai Leumi. The speech was republished several years ago both in English and in Hebrew and some copies are still available. The speech appears in Begin's first book, The Revolt, in both Hebrew and English.

The Begin Center has also recently acquired a computer system with which it is possible to determine various important statistics regarding attendance at the Begin Center. Thus, for example, we now know that during the days of Chol HaMoed Pesach the museum tours were working at an 87% capacity from 9:00 in the morning until 7:00 in the evening.& nbsp; Many of the groups that entered the museum were families visiting Israel from abroad who required earphones using the English or French translation. At the conclusion of their tours, they commented very favorably on this facility.

Our Mistake, but The Event Was a Success

The headline in last week's bulletin recalling the dramatic events in Jaffa that took place 60 years ago and not 65 years ago as the headline stated. A number of calls were received from Irgun fighters who had participated in the original event. We apologize to them and for the error.

The day in Jaffa was very successful. Some 1,200 people participated in the tours of the town that followed in the footsteps of the fighters. At the end of the day, a rally was held in Clore Park attended mainly by veterans and their families.& nbsp; Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, spoke of a personal connection to the events of 1948 relating the story of his wife's family's flight from South Tel Aviv until after the battle for Jaffa which allowed them to return to their home. Efraim Even spoke of the transfer of the Jewish population of Jaffa and the fact that now Jaffa was an example of Arabs and Jews living together. Gen. (res) Ya'acov Amidror spoke of the importance of this battle for the War of Independence to secure the civilian population.

Muranowska Square Ceremony

With the return of the delegation from Warsaw who conducted the ceremony in Muranowska Square, they brought videos and still pictures showing, among other things, the plaque that is now affixed at Muranowska Square.

The text reads as follows.

Here between 19 and 22 April 1943 and again on 27 and 28 April 1943 took place one of the major battles of the Warsaw Ghetto Revolt, which was carried out by Jewish resistance organizations. Jewish resistance fighters under the command of Pawel Frenkel, the commander of the ZZW—Hairgun Hatzvai Hayehudi—held off German assaults for a number of days. The Jewish and Polish flag s raised over the square and seen far and wide in Warsaw were the symbol to the people of Warsaw of the revolt against the German forces.

New Acquisitions

The Begin Center expresses its gratitude to David and Miriam Krakow for their presentation of additional Betar documents for the archives. The items are significant in their connection to Menachem Begin.

* * * * *

A new book on the Hasten Library shelves, among others recently acquired, is the memoirs of Professor Menachem Levin. Prof. Levin, who regularly attends the Center's events and programs with his wife, was one of the first Betarim of Eretz Yisrael, a soldier of the Irgun and a founder and activist in Herut. His book contains several portraits of Menachem Begin as well as much background information on the Revisionist movement and Israeli pol itics.

In Memoriam

We deeply regret to record the death in Toronto of Mrs. Anne Tanenbaum, the 99-year-old mother of Joey Tanenbaum, one of the first supporters of the Menachem Begin Memorial Project. She is survived by Joey and Toby, Minda and Les Feldman, Tauba and Sol Spiro, Howard and Carole, Larry and Judy, Carol, and Jeannie. The Begin Center has conveyed condolences to Joey Tanenbaum, his wife and family, pointing out the fact that the lady had lived almost an entire century in which the condition of the Jewish people had been drastically transformed by the creation and development of the Jewish State.

* * * * *

The first Yahrzeit of Prof. Michael Blumenthal, husband of former Member of Knesset Naomi Blumenthal will be observed on Friday, 9 May. Prof. Blumenthal was a famous eye surgeon and also a prominent participant in several national projects. He was on the Council of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center and also on the State Council to commemorate Presidents and Prime Ministers. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to Naomi and her family.


Judge and Mrs. Clayman of New York and their daughter and son-in-law, Shelly and Josh Tarartenberg, visited the Begin Center and were highly impressed by the building, its library activities and especially the tour of the museum

* * * * *

Mr. Moshe Ronen, his wife and children, his parents and brother visited the Begin Center on Monday. They were received by Harry Hurwitz and Herzl Makov, who briefly outlined the history of the Begin Center and its successful progress. Mr. Moshe Ronen is a leader of the CIC (Canada Israel Committee) based in Toronto.

* * * * *

Barry and Sindy Liben of New Jersey, who are among the leading active supporters of the Begin Center, were on a brief visit to their daughter, Rebbecca, in Israel who is participating in a three-month program sponsored by her high school. They were accompanied at a meeting with Harry Hurwitz and Herzl Makov by their friends Bobby Brown, a member of the International Board of the Begin Foundation, and Gary Segal.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Center Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 28

Volume 4, Issue 28
April 23, 2008

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 392,674

60 Years Since the Battle for Jaffa

In his book The Revolt, Menachem Begin recalled the tense days before the actual attack by the Irgun Zvai Leumi to liberate Jaffa. Just before the battle, Menachem Begin was filled with a sense of history and said that "perhaps for the first time in my life I suffered from acute stage fright. Most of the men did not know me except as a name and a symbol. There they stood line upon line, the rebels going out to battle with perfect faith. The hour was great. I said to them:

"Men of the Irgun! We are going out to conquer Jaffa. We are going into one of the decisive battles for the independence of Israel. Know who is before you, and remember whom you are leaving behind you. Before you is a cruel enemy who has risen to destroy us. Behind you are parents, brothers, children. Smite the enemy hard. Aim true. Save your ammunition. In battle show no more mercy to the enemy than he shows mercy to our people. But spare women and children. Whoever raises his hands in surrender has saved his life. You will not harm him. You will be led in the attack by Lieutenant Gideon. You have only one direction—forward."

On Thursday, 24 April, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in cooperation with the Etzel Museum, the Etzel Soldiers Veterans Union and the Museum Division of the Ministry of Defense will coordinate tours of Jaffa revisiting sites of the 1948 campaign. Tours will take place from 9:00am until 6:00pm. Pre-registration is required. Please call 03-517-2044 or 03-517-7180. Price for adults is 25 ₪ (discounts for students, age 8-18).

In the evening, at 7:30pm, a rally will take place at the Charles Clore Park on the beachfront between Tel Aviv and Jaffa. Speakers will include Rabbi Meir Lau, Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Gen. (res.) Ya'acov Amidror and Prof. Moshe Arens.< /P>

Center Full for Chol HaMoed Pesach

As expected the Chol HaMoed Days of Pesach brought a large number of visitors to the Begin Center. Many of them are visitors from abroad and a variety of languages could be heard through the days. Some of the visitors had made their reservations from abroad. Persons in Israel or still abroad are strongly urged to make reservations if they wish to visit the museum. It has become one of the most popular attractions in Israel.

Ehud Danoch tours the Center

Ehud Danoch, who until recently was Israel's consul general in Los Angeles, visited the Menachem Begin Center last week and was given a tour of the museum and other features in the building by Herzl Makov, Chairman of the Center.

During his term of office in Los Angeles, Mr. Danoch arranged a large public meeting in Los Angeles to commemorate Menachem Begin. The event attracted many prominent persons including a number of leaders in the movie industry.

He was very impressed by the Menachem Begin Commemoration Project and thought that the museum was an exceptional place for education and inspiration.

Lithuanian Ambassador Drops In

The Ambassador of Lithuania Asta Skaisgiryte Liauskiene had a meeting in the Begin Center last week with Prof. Gerald Steinberg, who will shortly be visiting Lithuania to deliver a number of lectures. She then called on Harry Hurwitz, the Founder and President of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation and told him how much she enjoyed receiving the weekly news bulletin that keeps her up-to-date on events at the Center and the widespread admiration and respect for Menachem Begin.

In Memoriam

One of the top journalists of Israel Mr. Shalom Rosenfeld passed away at the age of 93 last week. Like so many other leading journalists in the country, he started his career in the Jabotinsky movement as a member of Betar and the Irgun Zvai Leumi and later became one of the founders and editors of the Ma'ariv daily newspaper. His articles on a whole variety of subjects were read and appreciated by several generations of readers of that newspaper.

He was laid to rest at the Nachalat Yitzhak cemetery in Tel Aviv.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Center Bulletin Vol. 4, No. 27

Volume 4, Issue 27
April 16, 2008

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 391,388

65th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

The 65th anniversary of the famous Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is being observed at the highest level in the Polish capital this week.

In addition to the official State delegation headed by President Shimon Peres, who will attend the memorial service at the site of the Warsaw Ghetto, there will be a first time event in Muranowska Square where the ZZW (Betar and Revisionist fighters and others) waged a valiant struggle against the German army which is now being revealed by the research that is being done by Prof. Moshe Arens, former Defense Minister and Foreign Minister of the State of Israel.

Last Friday, the Yediot Ahronot newspaper carried a major article on this important research project. Prof. Arens is leading a delegation which includes the Menachem Begin Heritage Center's Deputy Director Moshe Fuksman-Sha'al and a representative of the Betar, Simcha Felber. They will be joined at the ceremony by lead ers of the Polish Jewish community, pupils of the Ronald Lauder Jewish Day School and representatives of the Polish government and of the city of Warsaw.

A plaque will be unveiled in Muranowska Street to record the role of the Irgun and Betar in the Uprising which started on 19 April 1943.

Much interest has been aroused by a picture in the archives of the Begin Center at the back of which are three words in Hebrew and a date (Mordechai Anilewicz, Tel-Hai 31-3-1935). Anilewicz, one of the primary leaders in the Uprising itself, in fact, had started his Zionist youth activities in the in the ranks of Betar and said during the historic battle that he was strengthened by the spirit of Jabotinsky and Betar that he had absorbed at that time.

Menachem Begin Fellows to be Honored

The first MENACHEM BEGIN FELLOWS will be honored during the annual meeting of the International Board of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation which will take place on Friday, 9 May. A number of FELLOWS will be arriving specially for the occasion and others will be here for various events connected with the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel.

MENACHEM BEGIN FELLOWS are individuals or groups or foundations that have made additional special contributions to the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation Endowment/Development Fund for the on-going work of the Center.

A number of VIPs will attend the event to honor the FELLOWS and to outline the future programs and activities of the Foundation.

To receive more information about how to become a MENACHEM BEGIN FELLOW please contact Harry Hurwitz at

60 Years After the Jaffa Campaign

On the 24th of April, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in cooperation with the Etzel Museum, the Etzel Soldiers Veterans Union and the Museum Division of the Ministry of Defense will conduct an interactive, unique all-day event in the city of Ja ffa. Walking tours will revisit sites of the Etzel campaign of 1948 accompanied by Etzel members who were there at the battle and by actors who will portray characters from the battles. Participants will see photos of the actual events of 60 years ago and recreations of posters that were on the walls of buildings at the time. Tours end at the Gidi museum, on the beach between Jaffa and Tel Aviv.

Tours will take place from 9:00am until 6:00pm. Pre-registration is required. Please call 03-517-2044 or 03-517-7180. Price for adults is 25 ₪ (discounts for students, age 8-18).

In the evening, at 7:30pm, a rally will take place at the Charles Clore Park on the beachfront between Tel Aviv and Jaffa. Speakers will include Rabbi Meir Lau, Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Gen. (res.) Ya'acov Amidror and Prof. Mo she Arens.

Flag-Bedecked Begin Center

As in previous years the Begin Center is now surrounded by waving Israel flags to celebrate the season of religious and national festivals that are approaching. They will flutter in the wind the whole of Pesach and the Yom HaAtzmaut season and are an attraction for tourists and Israelis who see the building from near and far.

Wishing all our readers a

Happy Pesach Holiday Season!

"Moving and Effective Presentation"

The Chief Archivist of Canada, Mr. Ian E. Wilson, has written to Harry Hurwitz, to thank him and his colleagues for their wonderful hospitality when he and the Chief US Archivist, Dr. Alan Weinstein, visited the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in mid-February:

"The recollection of our time together in that magnificent building will endure as a highlight of our brief time in your historic city.

Thank you for the excellent initiative you and your colleagues have brought to reality. It is a moving and effective presentation. The Center provides a place for discussion and learning about the history of our times."

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Center Bulletin, Volume 4, Issue 26

Volume 4, Issue 26
April 9, 2008

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 390,319

Pastor John Hagee: "In Defense of Israel"

This past weekend was undoubtedly the weekend of Pastor John Hagee and his wife Diana. They came to Israel with nearly 1,000 followers and supporters from all over the United States and other parts of the world to celebrate their "Salute to Israel" event which usually takes place in different parts of the US. This year, to mark Israel's 60th anniversary, they decided to do it in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel.

Pastor Hagee's official program began on Friday morning at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center where the launch took place of the Hebrew edition of his book In Defense of Israel which was shared with the launch of the book of David Brog of Washington, DC, Standing With Israel both of which are published by Gefen Publishing.

In opening the proceedings, Harry Hurwitz, Founder and President of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation, said that Pastor Hagee had been greatly impressed by Menachem Begin's love of Israel and Eretz Israel; his courageous and visionary leadership; his ceaseless struggle in Europe; as commander of the Irgun in Palestine; as leader of the Opposition in Israel and as Prime Minister. Hurwitz quoted from a document found in the archives of the Begin Center in which Evangelical Christ ians in the US declared that their Christian Zionist Congress of America founded by Pastor Hagee had become "a monument to that man's inspiration." They mourned with all of Israel when Begin passed away and shall never, never forget this Lover of Zion.

The main speakers of the event were Ilan Greenfield, the publisher; Knesset Member Rabbi Benny Alon, who spoke of the unique role of Pastor Hagee and paid tribute to the Begin Center for hosting the event and Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat who spoke of the history of the alliance between the Bible-believing Christians and the Jewish people which he said was one of the most important developments after close to 2,000 years of enmity, persecution and pogroms. Riskin called the rapprochement between the Jews and Christians "one of the miracl es of the 20th century." David Brog spoke of his collaboration with Pastor Hagee and the importance of that work which is of great political significance in the US.

On Sunday evening, Pastor Hagee delivered an impassioned address in the main hall of the Binyanei HaUma saying that his organization has one goal—to support Israel.

Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu proclaimed that Israel has no better friends in the world than Christian Zionists. "This is a friendship of the heart, a friendship of common roots and a friendship of common civilization."

At the end of the evening, Pastor Hagee presented monetary gifts to 16 worthy causes in Israel totaling $6 million, among them the educational institution at Migdal Or; education projects in Ariel; the Magen David Adom; the Menachem Begin Heritage Center; the former residents of Gush Katif and others.

International Board Meeting and VIP Event

Immediately after Yom HaAtzmaut, on Friday 9 May, the International Board of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation will meet to receive an annual report of this living memorial project. Participants will include Israelis and people from abroad who are coming especially for the event or who will be here for the 60th Yom HaAtzmaut celebration.

The opportunity will be taken to honor the first MENACHEM BEGIN FELLOWS who are now making special contribution to the Endowment/Development Fund.

Among distinguished VIPs at the event will be Dr. Ze'ev Binyamin Begin, Prof. Moshe Arens, Knesset Member Ruby Rivlin and others.

Morris Kahn Impressed by the Center

One of Israel's top business leaders, Mr. Morris Kahn, accompanied by his sister Jeannette Hersch, friends, including Smoky Simon, members of his staff visited the Menachem Begin Heritage Center on Thursday. They toured the present temporary exhibition marking 30 years after the visit of President Sadat where there is a copy of a famous book produced by a group including Morris Kahn, which was given at the time to Prime Minister Begin, President Sadat and President Navon. They saw the Junior Knesset Program in operation in the Reuben Hecht Auditorium

They were guided by Harry Hurwitz and Herzl Makov throughout the museum tour and said at the end that it had been a very unusual and impressive experience.

Begin Center Staff Tour the Beit She'an Area

The staff of the Begin Center went on their yearly team-building outing on Monday. They began the day with breakfast outdoors at the Fatzael Junction

and drove up to the Beit She'an archeological site. They spent two hours learning the several thousand year history, important role and significance of Beit She'an and touring the mainly Roman ruins which include the main street (The Cardo), the theater, bathhouses, and other structures. Most special was that the guide, who grew up in Beit She'an, told the story of when he was in 8th grade, he and his friends stumbled upon a Philistine graveyard by accident and changed what was known about the history of Beit She'an. (This is reminiscent of the story of the Begin Center's a rcheological site in which a youngster, somewhat by accident, found the treasure trove of artifacts including the Priestly Blessing which is the oldest example of Hebrew writing ever found and is a quote from the Bible.)

The Begin Center group continued up to Kibbutz Gesher (Bridge) founded in 1939. It was also the site of a nearly miraculous power plant on the Jordan River begun by Pinchas Rutenberg which operated from 1933 to 1948 when it was destroyed by the Arab Legion. The members of the kibbutz also told a ver y moving story of the evacuation of the children of the kibbutz during the War of Independence in the middle of the night.

The Begin Center staff finished the day with team-building activities at Ein Muda, a beautiful spring near Kibbutz Sheluchot in the Beit She'an area and a gathering place for hundreds of storks and other bird life.

Deir Yassin

Several anti-Israel sites are reminding us that today, April 9, is the 60th anniversary of the Deir Yassin operation.

Uri Milstein has debunked the claims of a "massacre".


Friday, April 4, 2008

The Visit of Pastor John Hagee

John Hagee, his wife and special guests exiting the Liben Jerusalem Elevator accompanied by Harry Hurwitz

The overflow crowd

Ilan Greenfield of Gefen Publishing introducing the program
To his left: John Hagee, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, MK Rabbi Benny Elon, David Brog

Harry Hurwitz addressing those assembled

The even was filmed by Channel One TV for the Saturday night "Ro'im Olam" program, moderated by Yaakov Achimeir

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Center Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 25

Volume 4, Issue 25
April 3, 2008

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 388,054

"I Would Have Made the Same Decision."

On the 29th anniversary of the signing of the Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak surprisingly praised Egypt's peace with Israel. In an interview with a Warsaw newspaper, the Egyptian President commended Sadat's groundbreaking move: "I would have made the same decision." He was at the time Sadat's deputy and close to him.

When Menachem Begin came to Cairo for Sadat's funeral, he met many important international leaders. However, the most important meeting was with President-elect Hosni Mubarak. The two had met previously during Begin's nine meetings with Sadat. This occasion, as they shook hands, both uttered the same words simultaneously: "Peace forever" and addressed each other as "m y friend".

Unfortunately, with the passage of years, anti-peace forces in Egypt, among them the lawyers' guild, publicly opposed the Peace Treaty and to this day still call for it to be revoked.

Muranowska Square Dedication

65 years after the heroic Warsaw Ghetto Uprising started, various public events will take place in and around the area where the few, in different groups, fought against the German forces. Among them was the ZZW comprising members of the Irgun and of the Betar whose headquarters were situated in #7 Muranowska Street. To mark the occasion, a ceremony will take place at Muranowska Square where Prof. Moshe Arens and others connected with the National Movement will unveil a plaque commemorating the event. Prof. Arens has been busy doing research on the Uprising and has identified the leaders of the ZZW who all died in the battle. Prof. Arens is presently completing his research which will, in due course, be published as a book.

In the well-known book Muranowska 7 by Chaim Lazar, the author, wrote:

The periodical 'Magen David' was the last written word of the Jabotinsky Movement in the Warsaw ghetto that has been left to us. … Today we know that, even after the major Aktion [53 consecutive days in the summer of 1942 which took over 300,000 Jews to Treblinka], the Jewish Military Organization continued to issue pamphlets in the ghetto until the revolt of 1943; but it is this final issue of 'Magen David', ably written and edited by Arie (Leon) Rodal, w hich has survived as the last written testimony and a memorial for future generations. From its worn pages and blurred print we may learn of the yearnings and aspirations and of the spirit that prevailed among the disciples and followers of the man whose warning call had rung, unheeded, throughout the Jewish world: 'If you do not liquidate the diaspora, the diaspora will liquidate you.' Those now trapped between the ghetto walls saw this dire prophecy come true.

… They made the Warsaw ghetto their Tel Hai, the stronghold of Jewish heroism.

US Deputy Secretary of Health Visits the Center

The Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services of the United States Government, Dr. Tevi David Troy, visited the Menachem Begin Heritage Center on Wednesday. He was accompanied by a number of members of his staff, several persons from the US Embassy in Israel and security personnel.

He was met by Harry Hurwitz, Founder and President of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation, who was with the group throughout the tour of the Begin Museum. Dr. Troy was greatly impressed by the concept of the Begin Center and the Begin Museum had a special effect on him.

He congratulated the management of this rare Institute and wished them great success in its development.

In Memoriam

Veteran leader and spokesman of the Jabotinsky movement in Europe, later in Palestinian and the early days of Israel, Dr. Mordecai Hacohen passed away and was buried on Monday at the Har HaMenuhot cemetery. Dr. Hacohen spent a major part of his life in the United States and organized a number of historic events for the move ment including the 100th birthday celebration for Ze'ev Jabotinsky, the award of the Jabotinsky Prize Medal and many similar events. He was ill in recent years but visited the Begin Center in October 2006 and was greatly impressed by what had been done.

At the funeral the Begin Center was represented by Yisrael Medad. The speakers were Shlomo Nakdimon, Jack Friedgut, Judge Ya'akov Tyrkel and Mr. Moshe Mandelbaum, the former governor of the Bank of Israel. They described Hacohen as one of the founders of Israel's Foreign Service and initiators of its early programs.

He is survived by hi s wife Hoshana, his sons Yisrael and Ariel, his daughters, Naomi Weiss and Yael Wasserman, and grandchildren.

We extend our heartfelt sympathy to all the family.

Geography Finals at the Begin Center

Twelve finalists from around the country participated in the closing event of a national school quiz on geography which took place in the Reuben Hecht Auditorium in the Begin Center last week. The enthusiastic audience of young people, parents and teachers were addressed by Yuli Tamir, the Minister of Education and were received by the Director of the Electric Company and the he ad of the Jewish National Fund.

There was great excitement when the winners were announced and the prizes were awarded.


Jane Sherman, daughter of the late Max Fisher of Detroit, paid a short visit to Israel to introduce Doug Stewart, the newly appointed Director of the Fisher Foundation, to the heads of various Institutions in Israel. They met with Freda and Harry Hurwitz and Herzl Makov at the Begin Center and were given an update on the status of the Center, its plans and its needs. Stewart then visited the Begin Museum and was most impressed by the story, the technology and its presentation.