Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Center Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 37

Volume 4, Issue 37
June 26, 2008

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 410,877

60th Anniversary of the Altalena

Much publicity covered the Altalena 60th anniversary events last Thursday and Friday. The occasion was reported on three television programs in the Hebrew and English newspapers and local publications.

The highlight of the event was a regatta and competition around the area on the Tel Aviv beach front where the Altalena was attacked on orders of Ben Gurion, where the Altalena burst into flames and began exploding because of the weapons that were on the ship.

Ships gathered from Akko, Haifa, and Hertzliya and met at Vitkin Beach at 11:00am on Thursday creating a flotilla that sailed "In the Wake of the Altalena" down to the Tel Aviv Marina. At 7:30pm, the opening event began with all the ships including a marine scouts youth group.& nbsp; Eli Mizrahi, Chairman of the National Yacht Club, opened the event. Herzl Makov, Chairman of the Begin Center, spoke about the importance of the event in the establishment of the State and Begin's role in avoiding civil war. Yoske Nachmias gave a personal testimony of the events of that day. A very moving film was shown about two survivors of the Altalena meeting again after 60 years. A musical interlude was provided by Tamir Danieli.

On Friday morning, 30 ships, including one with Altalena survivors, lead by Joe Billig, a veteran of the Etzel, sailed from the Tel Aviv Marina to Frischman Beach. A naval memorial service was held with the traditional prayers. All the other ships circled the Altalena survivors' ship three times while a small aircraft flew over with a sign (in Hebrew) "Civil War—Never!" — the famous quote from Menachem Begin's speech after the Altalena was sunk. On the beach, people were handing out flyers to the bystanders so that they would know the history of the Altalena and to understand what was going on in front of them. After that, there was a tournament of boat races until 3pm. The whole two day event ended with an awards ceremony for the winners of the races and a kabbalat Shabbat with light refreshments.

Veterans of the Altalena held a separate, private unveiling ceremony at the new location of the Altalena memorial site which was moved for logistical reasons by the city of Tel Aviv.

Unveiling Ceremony

A most impressive new feature at the Begin Center will be officially unveiled at a ceremony on Monday, June 30. It is an artistic likeness of Menachem Begin and an appropriate sentence which sums up Begin's general outlook which are now imbedded in the wall of the Hurwitz Family Entrance Hall.

The original work was made by Prof. Harry Brand, a leading architect who served on the building committee of the Begin Center. It was enlarged and constructed out of aluminum so that an unusual portrayal is seen.

The ceremony will be attended by members of the Brand family, some of their friends, some members of the Boards of the Begin Center and Begin Foundation and senior members of the staff.

France-Israel Economic Cooperation Org. Meets

Linked to the State visit to Israel of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla, an event was organized at the Begin Center of the France-Israel Economic Cooperation Organization. Some 60 people participated in a discussion in the Seminar Room where French officials and businessmen who were in the President's party met with Israeli businessmen, including Shai Agassi.

They congregated for a light lunch in the Asper Foyer and were very taken by the view from the Foyer looking out to the Old City of Jerusalem.

Jewish Agency Reception

The Jewish Agency held a reception on the Simon Family Terrace of the Begin Center on Sunday evening at the conclusion of the first day of the deliberations of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency. Many veterans and younger members of the Board of Governors were present. They mingled. They talked. They expressed great admiration for the Center, its location and its unparalleled view.

Mazal Tov!

The wedding will take place in Manhattan on Thursday, July 3 of Daniella Liben and Adam Pally.

Daniella is the daughter of Sindy and Barry Liben who are devoted major supporters of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. They have provided the Jerusalem Elevator, which takes guests who toured the museum up to the ground level while listening to a 20 second extract of a speech (in Hebrew) by Prime Minister Begin about the eternity of Jerusalem, its liberation, unification and indivisibility. They have also been among the initiators of the new Endowment Fund to ensure the on-going educational, cultural, publishing, museum programs of the Begin Center.

We wish the Libens and the Pally family a hearty Mazal Tov and great joy from the union of their children.


Mr. Stanley Roth, one of the leaders of the Australian community who, among other things, heads its Keren HaYesod efforts, visited the Begin Center last Thursday at the conclusion of a very successful tour of an Australian mission. He was welcomed by the Founder and President of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation, Harry Hurwitz, who briefed him on the progress of the Foundation and the activities of the Center. A number of new ideas emerged and these will be discussed in the coming months.

Mr. Stanley Roth was impressed to see many people in the building and was delighted that the Begin Center has been such a notable success.

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Mr. Dan Zalmanowitz of Edmonton, Alberta in Canada and his son, Laurie, visited the Begin Center and were most enthusiastic about the building, its various features and its museum. Mr. Zalmanowitz had last seen the Begin Center when it was still under construction.

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Mr. Yossi Strauss, the comptroller of the Prime Minister's Office financial department, and members of his staff visited the Begin Center on Tuesday where they had discussions with the Chairman of the Center, Herzl Makov, its financial officer, Yisrael Drobles, and other members of the senior staff. They also met with Harry Hurwitz, President of the Foundation and then toured the museum. At the conclusion of their visit they complimented those who created such a Center and those who are leading it and offered their cooperation in the future.

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Mrs. L. Hainovitz, a well-known educator at the Pelech school in Jerusalem, brought a class to the Begin Center and toured the museum with them. She was so impressed that she said she would return in the near future with her husband, Asher Hainovitz, the cantor of the Jeshurun Synagogue.