Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Center Bulletin Vol. 4, No. 30

Volume 4, Issue 30
May 7, 2008

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 397,147

South African Betar Reunion

This was Betar of Southern Africa week, also at the Begin Center. On Sunday night, May 4, between 700 and 800 former members of the Betar in Southern Africa who live in Israel and some still abroad and some young members of the organization who live in South Africa today and came specially for the occasion, assembled for a remarkable event at Shuni, Jabotinsky Park, Binyamina. In the following days some of them c ame to Jerusalem and visited the Begin Center in groups for the first time.

Some participated in a small ceremony at the Jabotinsky Institute where members of the Kolnick family presented a bust of Jabotinsky (sculpted by a well-known Dutch artist, Johan Oldert) to the Institute. It had belonged to Eli Kolnick, the dynamic Zionist Revisionist leader and highly respected patron of the Betar. Members of the Kolnick family subsequently visited the Begin Center in Jerus alem.

The celebratory event had three short speeches by Jewish Agency Chairman Ze'ev Bielsky, Yechiel Kadishai, who had been a shaliach in South Africa and Harry Hurwitz. The rest of the evening was taken up by nostalgic songs, slides, music and reminiscences.

The function was presided over by Dr. M. Strauss who for over a year chaired a committee of Southern African Betar who planned the reunion. The organizer of this major undertaking was Beryl Ratzer who received the acknowledgement and applause of the whole gathering for her efforts.

Yom HaZikharon—Yom HaAtzmaut תשס''ח

We bow our heads before the 22,437 soldiers of

all the generations that fell in the liberation

and the defense of the State of Israel and salute their memories.

We wish the nation of Israel and

the entire Jewish People a

Happy 60th Yom HaAtzmaut!

For Whom the Nation Longs? It Longs for Begin!

In the latest poll conducted by the Yediot Aharonot, the question was again asked, as it has been for a number of years: "Who is the political leader in Israel whom you would be happiest to see return to political life?"

The answer came back as follows: Menachem Begin 31%; Yitzhak Rabin 27%; David Ben Gurion 16%; Rachavim Ze'evi 7%; Moshe Dayan 5%; Levi Eshkol 3%; Ezer Weizman 2%; Raphael Eitan 2%.

Yom HaShoah תשס''ח

A tradition was established on Yom HaShoah—Holocaust Memorial Day—May 1, when the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in cooperation with the Jabotinsky Order, Betar and Jabotinsky Institute held a very moving memorial session. The Reuben Hecht Auditorium was packed to capacity by young and old. Herzl Makov opened the proceedings with a moving short address and he led the Kaddish.

During the evening, young cantors of the Tel Aviv Institute of Hazanut directed by Naftali Herztig intoned special prayers for the occasion and youths from the Betar movement read appropriate selections.

The main address was given by Prof. Moshe Arens who, together with the Deputy Director of the Begin Center, Moshe Fuksman-Sha'al led a group to Warsaw the previous week where they unveiled a plaque at Muranowska Square, where the ZZW had raised the banner of revolt against the Germans.

This ceremony was done in cooperation with the City of Warsaw and the government of Poland. President Shimon Peres, who in the same time period was a corner away at the ceremony honoring the ZOB, did not participate in the Muranowska ceremony. Prof. Arens gave a detailed accounting of his intensive research into the struggle in Warsaw and thanked the Begin Center for its efforts. He urged the Center to make it an annual custom to have such an event until this commemoration will be incorporated into the general commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

The Polish Ambassador Agnieszka Magdziak-Miszewska spoke of her involvement in the memorial events. Most moving of all was the video presentation of Zhuta Hartman, the last known ZZW fighter, who told of her experiences in the Warsaw Ghetto with her first-hand description of the Ghetto Uprising.

(L-R:) Herzl Makov, Matityahu Drobles and Harry Hurwitz


Congratulations to Ziv Rubinovitz, doctoral candidate at Haifa University and a member of the Begin Center's Research Unit, on his presentations at the Sixth Annual Conference of the Israel Association for International Studies on May 4 at Bar Ilan University.

Ziv, who previously worked at the Center in charge of the Museum operations and guides supervisor, spoke on The Stopping Power of Land: The Geopolitics of American Use of Force in the International Arena since 1898 as well as the subject of the United States and the Israel-Egypt Peace Process - Positive or Negative Contribution?


Mr. and Mrs. Syd Salmimis and Mr. and Mrs. Neville Sweiden of Johannesburg, South Africa, visited the Begin Center and were most impressed by the building and its features and were deeply moved by the museum.

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Joe Dushansky, Alex Goldsmith (both of Ra'anana), Barry Spanger from Melbourne, and Jerry Spanger from New Jersey and visited the Begin Center and museum on Tuesday and were briefed by Harry Hurwitz who showed them the Beit Knesset and Auditorium. They were lucky to find a Junior Knesset workshop in session.