Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Center Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 50

Volume 4, Issue 50
September 24, 2008

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 440,131

This is the new impressive wall in the Olive Tree entrance foyer of the Begin Center. The likeness of Menachem Begin was sculpted in a new method by the well-known architect Prof. Harry Brand, who was present at the unveiling with his wife Evelyn and their family. A number of VIPs were specially invited. In brief remarks, Brand gave the background of this work which he was happy to present to the Begin Center, who in turn decided to place it where it now is.

The Hebrew is a quote from a statement by Menachem Begin which says "Not by the right of might have we returned to the land of our forefathers but we have returned by the might of right…And therein, all its inhabitants, the citizen as well as the resident, will live in freedom and justice, in solidarity and peace."

30 Years Since Camp David

Symposium Launched at Begin Center

The Camp David symposium got off to an auspicious opening at the Begin Center on Monday night and continued through Tuesday at the Bar Ilan University.

Israel's 5th President, Yitzhak Navon, recalled in his fascinating remarks in Hebrew, Arabic and English, that even though he was not in Camp David he had a number of important and interesting discussions with President Sadat in Israel and in Egypt. He also recalled his conversations with Prime Minister Menachem Begin before and after Camp David and in the subsequent years and recounted several meetings with President Carter.

As an historian and man of history and literature, he cited a number of appropriate Arab songs and poems to illustrate the points he was making. President Navon urged Israel to continue the pursuit of peace, now and at all times.

Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, who had been at Camp David as one of the legal advisors and assistants to Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, stressed the main issues confronting the Israel delegation and recalled a number of humorous episodes. He spoke glowingly of the role of Prime Minister Menachem Begin and President Anwar Sadat, both strong and resolute leaders who, despite all the difficulties, were determined to end the state of war between the two countries.

Prof. Shmuel Sandler, of the Bar Ilan University, apologized for the absence of its president Moshe Kaveh and read the speech he had intended to deliver, supplementing it with his own emotions and reactions to Sadat's visit to Israel, the Camp David talks and their conclusions. He paid warm tribute to Prime Minister Begin.

In opening the proceedings, Harry Hurwitz, the Founder of the Begin Center and President of the Foundation, welcomed the distinguished guests and recalled a telephone conversation he received from Prime Minister Menachem Begin in Washington, DC during Camp David. The call was intended also to be heard by those in Camp David who were listening into Begin's conversations in order to determine his intentions.

When it came to the question of Jerusalem, Prime Minister Begin refused to discuss the subject and when asked to reconsider, he told the moving story of Rabbi Amnon of Meintz which is printed in every Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur machzor to describe the author of the famous prayer Unetanah Tokef.

Later when Begin came out of Camp David and appeared before 2,000 Jews in Washington, DC he proclaimed: "I am happy to greet you in Washington, DC to bring you greetings from Jerusalem, DC. You all know what D.C. stands for—District of Columbia. Jerusalem DC stands for Jerusalem, David's City."

"To this moment I still hear the outburst of applause of the large audience when they heard Menachem Begin's declaration of faith in the Holy Eternal City, Jerusalem," Hurwitz concluded.

The Master of Ceremonies of the event was Moshe Fuksman-Sha'al, Deputy Chairman of the Begin Center, who conducted the program in a wonderful way, with appropriate quotations from Begin and about Begin.

Short musical interludes were provided by Yonatan Niv, cello, Yoel Tayeb, guitar.

Events Fill the Center

This past Tuesday evening the Commander of the Central Front of the IDF met with officers under his command in the Begin Center to bid farewell to one of the officers and the celebrate the forthcoming High Holy Day season.

Later in the week the Reuben Hecht Auditorium was filled by a large number of young women soldiers and their parents at the conclusion of a course in which they had all participated.
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