Thursday, February 19, 2009

Center Bulletin, Nol. 5, No. 18

Menachem Begin Heritage Center Bulletin Vol. 5, No. 18 19 February 2009

TOTAL NUMBER OF VISITORS SINCE OCTOBER 2004: 472,769 (as of Feb. 22)


The Annual Itzhak "Elitzur" Friedman Lecture honoring Young Heroes, sponsored by the Friedman Family in conjunction with the Begin Center, took place this week in the Reuben Hecht Auditorium. The evening was emceed by Herzl Makov, Chairman of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, who opened the evening with a few words about the importance of bringing to light all the stories of history to eventually arrive at a whole truth. Dr. Jonathan Friedman spoke on behalf of the Friedman family and said a few words about his father, Elitzur's, involvement in Czech Betar and their activities to prepare Jews in Europe for life in Israel.

Prof. Moshe Arens spoke in English about his recent research work regarding the Betar's involvement in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. He gave a brief historical background to the events in the Warsaw Ghetto mentioning that even in those harsh and dangerous times within the walls of the ghetto, the two political movements could not come to an agreement about resistance or acquiescence. The narrative eventually leads to the final battle of the ghetto, the Battle of the Flags. It is called the Battle of the Flags because at the height of the fighting in Muranowska Square, the members of the Betar fighting group, went to the top of the tallest building and raised the flags of the Zionist movement (the blue and white flag) and the Polish flag, symbolizing that their spirit was not broken. Arens pointed out that this story is not well known because the authors of the history were from the other movements and chose not to mention that the Betar flag was flying during this final battle. "The Romans said veritas vincit—the truth conquers—and maybe my book will make some contribution to that goal," he said.

Last year, Arens was present at the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the battle of Muranowska Square which is a small step in regard to adjusting the public memory of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Prof. Aren's book has been published in Hebrew as Flags Above the Ghetto and is expected to be published in English soon.


In a full Reuben Hecht Auditorium and overflow seating in the large seminar room, an evening dedicated to Avraham "Yair" Stern on the occasion of his 67th Yahrzeit was conducted on Wednesday, February 18. Initiated by former MK Geula Cohen and jointly sponsored by the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, the Uri Zvi Greenberg Heritage House and the Lechi Veterans' Organization, the nearly 400 persons were addressed by Herzl Makov, Chairman of the Begin Center, on the relationship between David Raziel and Avraham Stern, by Dr. Udi Lebel on the ethos of Yair amongst Israel's youth, by Yair Stern's son, his namesake, who spoke on his father's prophetic vision based on new documentary material that indicates that Great Britain signed an agreement with Syria in May 1945 to deny Jews a state and by Tovah Svorai who recounted the events of Yair's last day as she was with him in the apartment used as his hideout.

Shulamit Livant sang several underground songs and two short video clips on Yair and an interview with his widow, Roni, were shown.


A group of 25 young women, students at the Lindenbaum Girls' Seminary, led by their instructor, Dr. Yitzhak Mansdorf, visited the Begin Center this past Tuesday. They are participating in a special Hasbara workshop and came to the Begin Museum specifically to observe historical footage of Menachem Begin in action—analyzing his speaking style, his method of communication and vocabulary—after which, Yisrael Medad, Director of Information Resources, addressed them on issues of explaining Israel's case. Medad placed emphasis both on the knowledge needed and the unique ability to make a successful media appearance so that Israel's message can be communicated effectively.


This week the Education Department utilized the full force of their variety of programs. There was a Junior Knesset workshop in Spanish for students from Uruguay participating in long-term programs in Israel and a full day of leadership workshops for Golani soldiers and another workshop for the police. In addition, the process is starting for the Begin Center to interview potential candidates for National Service girls for the next year.


1 March 2009
Yarzheit of Menachem Begin
5:30pm at the Begin Center
This year marks 17 years since Menachem Begin passed away. The Begin Center will be holding a commemoration event in the evening that includes a multi-media presentation in conjunction with Nahum Heyman who will lead sing-alongs with audience participation.
This event is in Hebrew and is open to the public.

3 March 2009
Thinking after the Holocaust: Voices from Poland and Israel
5:00pm at the Begin Center
Co-sponsored with the World Jewish Congress Research Institute, this is a conference about Jewish life after the Holocaust, with Dr. Sebastian Rejak, Bureau for Polish–Jewish Relations, Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Rabbi Sam Kassin, Dean Shenbar Sephardic Center, Jerusalem; and Prof. Daniel Grinberg, Prof. of History, University of Bialystok
This event is in Hebrew and reservations must be made to (click on the email address to send an email to reserve a place).
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