Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mike Evans: Jimmy Carter Revises History vis a vis Menachem Begin

Mike Evans helps out and corrects Jimmy Carter's misrepresentations of Menachem Begin.

From his op-ed in The Washinton Times of January 28, 2009

Carter refers to Jews again and again as "radicals," another word for terrorists. He called former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin a "radical" and then goes on to describe him as the "most notorious terrorist in the region." Of course, he said the British said that, not him...

It appears that Jimmy Carter is revising history. The Benjamin Netanyahu I know was attending college during the Camp David meetings. In fact, when I recommended him to Begin for a government job, the prime minister did not even know who Benjamin was. I have no idea how Carter was so aware of Benjamin Netanyahu's political ideology; he was selling furniture to help fund his schooling.

The former president writes that Begin agreed to divide Jerusalem. I found that to be astonishing … especially since Mr. Begin had given me a copy of the letter he wrote to Carter on Sept. 17, 1978. In the letter he wrote, "Dear Mr. President. … On the basis of this law, the government of Israel decreed in July 1967 that Jerusalem is one city indivisible, the capital of the State of Israel." According to Begin, Carter informed him that the U.S. government did not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Begin told me he responded, "Excuse me sir, but the State of Israel does not recognize your non-recognition." The former president writes that Prime Minister Begin agreed to a freeze on building Jewish settlements. Begin told me he had not agreed to a total freeze; he only agreed not to build new settlements for three months, during the negotiations. Carter gives the impression that he and Begin were close friends by saying that Begin and Sadat visited him in Plains to reaffirm the personal commitments each had made to the other. I found that quite humorous; Mr. Begin told me he had refused to meet with Carter when the president traveled to Jerusalem. At that time, he was no longer prime minister but was outraged that Carter had misrepresented the events during their meetings.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Begin Center Bulletin, Vol. 5, Issue 13

JANUARY 15, 2009 | VOLUME 5, ISSUE 13



As part of the Begin Center's involvement in extending social services for the residents of the southern part of Israel surrounding Gaza, we have made available to bone fide residents a free tour in the Museum. Dafna Shkedy, the Museum's director, has reported that as of today, 540 persons, members of organized groups, have gone through the Museum as well as an additional 156 persons, mostly families.

The Center is proud to offer its assistance, along with other cultural institutions in Jerusalem, to help alleviate the feelings of anxiety the population under missile attack are undergoing. From some of the comments, we have learned that the character of Menachem Begin, as a leader and as a stalwart believer in the Jewish People and its national purpose, has been of help to them in this difficult period.
One of the participants in this outreach effort, the Abbu Family, wrote a letter of appreciation, noting that they were quite grateful to have been able to visit a "site which instills love for our dear country which enabled us to learn about the people who have brought us this far and granted us, the Jewish people, the ability to be who we are. Thanks to all those involved in this sacred task."

After much work and preparation, the new Menachem Begin Heritage Center website in Hebrew was launched this week. We are still working out a few bugs and issues, as can be expected, but we invite you to peruse the site at to see the new look and style of the Begin Center presence on the internet.
We hope to launch our site in English in February.


A group of Senior Israel Experience students from Chicagoland Jewish High School who came to the Begin Center this week to participate in a modified version of the Junior Knesset program. Rather than teach an entire semester of civics before coming to a concluding day at the Begin Center in which students re-enact the passing of a law, this workshop forum allows students to arrive, gain some background knowledge and on a single issue, go through the process of passing a law in the Knesset.

The young people from Chicago were very enthusiastic and enjoyed the experiential workshop that allowed them to achieve an understanding of the Israeli political scene from the inside out.

Aaron Weinberg said, "It was so much fun. I'm on the debate team…I love Israeli politics and Israel." Jeremy Hulkower said, "It was certainly interesting and fascinating. It was fun to be Prime Minister for a day. It gave me a chance to learn more about Israeli politics."


Nahum Heyman's next sing-along evening will be on Tuesday, January 20at 8:00pm highlighting the songs of Mordechai Ze'era and Ya'acov Orland. This event will be in Hebrew.

The 4th annual Elitzur Lecture will take place on Sunday, February 15 at 6:00pm. Details will follow in later bulletins. This event will be in English.

An evening to remember Avraham "Yair" Stern will take place on Wednesday, February 18. Details will follow in later bulletins. This event will be in Hebrew.

BeginCenter Bulletin, Vol. 5, Issue 14

JANUARY 22, 2009 | VOLUME 5, ISSUE 14



The government of Israel, forced to go to elections in February, was not able to pass the 2009 State budget before the end of December 2008. In such cases, the law in Israel stipulates that the previous year's basic budget will be the reference point for the allocation from the State for the following year. As a result of this, the Begin Center is left with a State budget allocation of 2.9 million shekels for 2009. For 2008, the Begin Center received 6.9 million shekels which was the basic budget and the addition of a special allocation of 4 million shekels. Herzl Makov, Chairman of the Begin Center, and Dalia Rabin, Chairperson of the Rabin Center (operating with similar State funding), met with the Minister of the Treasury and succeeded in raising the allocation from 2.9 million shekels to 5 million shekels. This budget will remain in place until the Knesset approves the State budget which is expected to occur in June 2009.

We realize that even in June it won't be easy to increase the State budget taking into consideration that Israel is facing, along with the rest of the world, an economic depression that will require significant resources to overcome. Besides that, Israel just completed the operation in Gaza, which is a large expense incurred by the Security budget, regardless of all other aspects of that operation.

In light of this budgetary challenge, the Begin Center will be required to make dramatic cuts in our ability to provide the whole scope of quality programs that we are so proud to have at the Begin Center. However, to help minimize the effect, we are launching fundraising campaigns in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK in the next few months in order to ensure continuation of the important work that is being done here. We will, of course, call upon our friends and supporters to help us overcome this challenge.


Coordinated with an advertisement campaign launched on Ynet, a major internet news site in Israel, the redesigned Begin Center website in Hebrew was launched and increased its online traffic tenfold. This, of course, means that the presence of the Begin Center is accessible to a worldwide community. We hope to launch the website in English in the very near future.


First school completes Junior Knesset curriculum
The Dafna Junior High School from Kiryat Bialik became the first school this year to come to the Begin Center for their concluding day of the Junior Knesset curriculum. The concluding day consists of putting into action all the theories that they learned over the course of the semester regarding the process of passing a law. The students come to the Begin Center and, using the unique layout in the Reuben Hecht Auditorium which is a replica of the Knesset chamber, take on various roles to simulate passing a law in the Knesset. Their visit to Jerusalem included a visit to the real Knesset and a trip through the Menachem Begin Museum.

Agreement with the Jerusalem police for leadership workshops
Recently the Begin Center signed and agreement with the Jerusalem police to bring 60 groups of policemen who will go through the museum and participate in a workshop developed by the education department of the Begin Center entitled "In the Public Service". The workshop focuses on the motivation of individuals to serve the public and elements of character that inspire someone to serve the nation. These concepts are based on the ideals and heritage of Menachem Begin who spent his entire life in public service. As an added element of the workshop experience, the police groups will take a walking tour of Yemin Moshe, the neighborhood next to the Begin Center, "In the Footsteps of Avraham Kirshenbaum," who was a fighter in all three Underground movements during the British Mandatory period and who died defending Yemin Moshe, the neighborhood he grew up in and where his family still lived (and still live today).

Recently declassified dossier delivered by Romanian Ambassador
A few weeks ago, the Romanian Ambassador Dr. Valeria Mariana Stoica visited the Menachem Begin Heritage Center to deliver a dossier to the Begin Center Archives. It was a recently declassified file regarding Prime Minister Menachem Begin's first visit to Romania and the correspondence with Romanian President Nicolae Ceau┼čescu which opened a line of communication with Egypt that led to the invitation for President Anwar Sadat to visit Israel and to begin the historic peace process.

Oral History Project Continues
The Oral History Project at the Begin Center Archives continues to conduct interviews with people who remember the life and times of Menachem Begin. Recently, the Archives staff met with Ra'anana Meridor, the widow of Eliyahu Meridor, who shared memories of the time of Irgun and the beginning of the Herut Party. Prof. Moshe Sharon, who had been the advisor on Arabic matters from 1978-1979, also provided an interview.


Past events
Another successful Nahum Heyman sing-along evening took place on Tuesday, January 20at 8:00pm highlighting the songs of Mordechai Ze'era and Ya'acov Orland. The Reuben Hecht Auditorium was filled with enthusiastic supporters of Hebrew song.

Upcoming Events
Date Change: The 4th annual Elitzur Lecture will take place on Monday, February 16 at 5:30pm. Details will follow in later bulletins. This event will be in English.

On January 25, five secular pre-army training courses will have a pre-election conference at the Begin Center to learn more about the party platforms and hear from candidates. There will be three panels covering the Economy, Education and Welfare, Defense and Foreign Affairs. Herzl Makov, Chairman of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, will present opening remarks and a short movie will be shown about Menachem Begin. This event is not open to the public.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Begin in The Economist

After the ignominious defeat of 1967, the Arab states again rejected the idea of peace with Israel. That was, indeed, a wasted opportunity. But even though the Israel of 1967 discussed how much of the West Bank it was ready to trade for peace, the Likud governments of the late 1970s and 1980s wanted it all. For Israel fell in love with the territories it had occupied.

This was the period of Israeli rejection. Israeli prime ministers such as Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir asserted a God-given right to a “greater Israel” that included the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in which Israeli governments of all stripes continued to plant (illegal) settlements.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Jimmy Carter Lied: Menachem Begin Didn't

Found here:

There they were: George Bush Sr and his son, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

Liars, the lot of them.

And while they didn't all get away with it, they each managed to keep their Oval Office jobs...

Carter might be his country's most famous born-again Christian, but he's not averse to telling the odd porky.

For years he insisted that at the Camp David negotiations then Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin agreed to a freeze on new West Bank settlements and then broke the promise.

Begin did no such thing and 25 years later Carter finally agreed.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Center Bulletin, Vol. 5, No. 11

January 1, 2009, Volume 5, Issue 11



The eight days of Chanukah were a very busy time at the Begin Center with major events with hundreds of people attending and 1,468 people who entered the museum over the eight-day period (6.5 days of the Center and museum being open)—some of the days of Chanukah, every single tour of the day was full.

Dr. Reuven Or (left) receives the prize from Moshe Nissim (center) and Yechiel Kadishai (right):

Harold "Smoky" Simon (center) receives a certificate of honor from Moshe Nissim and Yechiel Kadishai:

Prof. Moshe Arens (left) receives a certificate of honor from Moshe Nissim and Yechiel Kadishai:

Moshe Fuksman-Sha'al (left), Herzl Makov (center) and Freda Hurwitz (right) at the Scholarship Awards Ceremony:

Avivit Mahatsri, recipient of the I.H. Asper Scholarship speaks on behalf of all the recipients:

Dr. Harel Doron gave a short presentation about his scholarship-winning work, "The New Rabbis in the National Religious Camp":

HE Valeria Stoica Ambassador of Romania (left) in Israel visited with Herzl Makov, Head of the MBHC:


Two new academic research articles have recently been published which were acquired for the Begin Center Library. The first is British Intelligence and the Mandate of Palestine: Threats to British National Security Immediately After the Second World War by Calder Walton and the second is British Intelligence and the Jewish Resistance Movement in the Palestine Mandate, 1945-46 by Steven Wagner. Both appeared in Intelligence and National Security, Volume 23, Issue 4 August 2008.

These articles have made use of recently released files previously unavailable to researchers and provide a wealth of information and we are sure visitors and students to the Hasten Family Library will be able to produce better studies of that period now that we possess these articles. We are aware that many similar papers are being published or presented at academic conferences and are making efforts to obtain them so that our information and resource units can provide the public all they need.


The Education Department of the Begin Center has recently launched an abbreviated version of the Junior Knesset program as an hour and a half workshop for young people who are visiting the country on Birthright-type trips or participating in other MASA programs.

This week, a several groups from Argentina participated in the program. The original workshop format is in English and the suggested program allows participants to take on the major roles in the Knesset in order to pass a law.
We hope to see this program expand to other languages and to other groups.


The Menachem Begin Heritage Center extends its condolences to former Likud MK Amal Nasr'aldin (1977-1988) of the Druze community on the loss of his grandson, Lutfi, who, as a reserve soldier, was the IDF's first casualty in the current Gaza "Cast Lead" Operation. Amal Nasr'aldin has visited the Center several times and initiated the publication, in Arabic with Hebrew translation, of a book on Menachem Begin as well as hosting a Begin Center event in Daliyat Al-Carmel. Lutfi was killed when his army camp was bombarded by Hamas rockets on December 29th.


To Dafna Shkedi of the Begin Center who was awarded this year's prize for Outstanding Employee. Dafna is in charge of the museum operations, in which she oversees the guides' training, deals with technical issues and adjustments in the museum and coordinates the activities to ensure our visitors have a good museum experience, from reservation to exit from the Jerusalem Elevator.

* * * * *

Yisrael Medad, Director of the Begin Center Information & Educational Resources Unit, was invited to participate in a Political Science departmental seminar at the Hebrew University at which Dr. Chares Demetriou presented a paper on Political Violence and Legitimation: The Episode of Colonial Cyprus. In the ensuing discussion, Demetriou expressed interest to further learn of the history of the Irgun within an academic comparative framework. It is Medad's intention to expand the Center's academic research connections in the field of study of National Liberation Movements.


A few of our friends from Canada stopped by the Begin Center this week. Moe Levy from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, representing the Asper Foundation stopped by with Shai Abramson, the Asper Foundation representative in Israel. Lou and Dvora Silver of Toronto also stopped by.

From the US—though originally from South Africa—Abraham and Taubene Hoppenstein visited the Center as well.

Center Bulletin, Vol. 5, Issue 12

January 8, 2009, Volume 5, Issue 12



This week Nahum Ne'eman ("Nakh'che") presented a program on the songs of Natan Alterman in the history of Israeli music. This performance series is quite interesting because Natan Alterman and the others that are featured in the other performances are not songwriters, per se. They are poets who published poetry prior to Israel's existence and after. Later, their words were put to music and became popular Israeli songs.

The Reuben Hecht Auditorium was nearly full with an audience ready and enthusiastic to sing along to some of Alterman's songs. The singer that evening was Chani Livneh and there was a special performance by an Israeli folk dancing troupe. The guest lecturer was Chaim Guri, a songwriter, who was a friend of Natan Alterman. The evening concluded with the sing-along that the audience happily joined.
The next Nahum Ne'eman evening will be January 20 at 8:00pm about Mordechai Ze'era and Ya'acov Orland. Tickets are 40 NIS and reservations are required. Call (02) 565-2020.


The very successful Rohr Family Parashat HaShavua program will be finishing the first book of the Torah, Bereshit/Genesis, this week. We thank Dr. Ido Hevroni for his excellent lectures these past two months. We welcome next week Rabbi Yermi Stavitsky, the principal of the religious boys' high school, Himmelfarb, who will be the primary lecturer on the portions of the week in Shemot/Exodus.
Starting next Sunday, the Begin Center will launch an internet campaign to advertise the Parashat HaShavua in the Judaism section of Ynet. Links will be provided in the bulletin next week.


In preparation for the launch of our new website, you may experience difficulty in accessing the current website. Look for details next week on the website launch, which will be at the same website address


Rachel Glazer, who was once an intern at the Begin Center, visited leading a group of university students on a tour of Israel under the auspices of the ZOA. Yisrael Medad, Director of the Information Resources Unit, spoke to them about hasbara issues and how to bring the information that they learn on this trip back to campus with them.

Groups who are interested in more that just a visit to the museum, can coordinate with the reservations department to request a speaker from the Begin Center to give a short presentation on a variety of topics.

Shelly Goldberg's course, an introduction to Kabbalah, ended last week and was very successful. We hope to be able to plan more courses on an assortment of subjects in the future.

Not all of Israel's soldiers were in the South this week, as a large group who are in officer's training came to the Begin Center to visit the museum.