Friday, May 15, 2009

Center Bulletin, Vol. 5, No. 29

Menachem Begin Heritage Center Bulletin Vol. 5, No. 29 | 14 May 2009



The Menachem Begin Heritage Center, located on the Hinnom Ridge overlooking the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, will be building up to the celebrations of Jerusalem Day with four events.

The first event took place on May 13 at 5:30pm with 90 people filling the seminar room at the Begin Center to capacity. The event was co-sponsored by the Movement for Strengthening Jerusalem which is an organization established by the Zionist Council in Israel. The panel discussion was on the topic of strengthening Jerusalem as a national mission. On the panel were Minister Beny Begin, Prof. Ephraim Inbar, head of the BESA Center at Bar Ilan University and Avi Ro'e, head of the municipality of Mateh Binyamin.

Upcoming Events:

On May 17, there will be a special commemorative evening for Ethiopian Jews. Jerusalem Day has been designated as a national commemoration day for Ethiopian Jews who died trying to make the journey from Ethiopia to Israel via the Sudan by foot. At the ceremony we will hear from survivors of the lengthy and dangerous journey. Also taking part will be the Minister of Immigration and Absorption, Sofa Landver; former head of the Mossad during Menachem Begin's second term, Nahum Admoni and representatives from the Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews. This event will be in Hebrew, is free, but reservations are required (02) 565-2020.

On May 19 at 8pm, another evening of songs, poems and sing-a-longs will take place with Nahum Heyman, recipient of this year's Israel Prize. The first half of the evening will be dedicated to songs about Jerusalem and the second half will be the songs of David Zahavi and Mattiyahu Shalem, as representatives of the Labor-affiliated cooperative settlement movement. This event is in Hebrew, admission is 40 NIS and reservations are required (02) 565-2020.

On May 21, Jerusalem Day, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center will show a film in the Reuben Hecht Auditorium at 8:30pm called Alone on the Walls. This is a documentary about the battle for the Old City of Jerusalem in 1948 using interviews from the participants in the battle. Natan Gini, a fighter in that battle, will speak after the film. The film is in Hebrew with English subtitles and the discussion afterward is in Hebrew. The admission is 30 NIS and reservations are required (02) 565-2020.


An article featuring the Begin Center was published in the Jewish Tribune which is a Jewish weekly newspaper based in Toronto, Canada. Atara Beck, who visited the Center this week, wrote a very nice article explaining the history and mission of the Center and its various programs. To see the article online, click here.

Other media mentions:

Yonatan Touval wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times in which he quotes Menachem Begin:

But it is a statement that was made in June 1977 by then-prime minister Menachem Begin. A sentimental nationalist of the highest order, Begin was nevertheless able to identify the only kind of recognition that Israel should require: “I re-emphasize that we do not expect anyone to request, on our behalf, that our right to exist in the land of our fathers, be recognized. It is a different recognition which is required between us and our neighbors: recognition of sovereignty and of the mutual need for a life of peace and understanding.”

William Safire, in his "On Language" column in the Sunday New York Times, also quoted Begin:

For more than the century and a half that followed, the phrase war of necessity dominated, and war of choice seemed to fade. But Menachem Begin, the Israeli prime minister — who may well have studied Maimonides — speaking in Hebrew on Aug. 8, 1982, to the National Defense College in Jerusalem about Israel’s “Operation Peace for Galilee” war in Lebanon, contrasted what was officially translated as “wars of no alternative” with “wars of choice.” He included the War of Independence and the Yom Kippur War as “no alternative,” fighting for the nation’s very existence, but the Sinai campaign and the Six-Day War and the Lebanon operation as “wars of choice” — akin to what others would call “preventive war” — quite justifiable for self-defense but with alternatives arguably available. One year later, the Times columnist Anthony Lewis wrote, “In Israel there were and are deep divisions over what is called a ‘war of choice’ — not of necessity.”

To see more articles like these, visit the Center Blog site


Many streets in Jerusalem were closed due to security precautions for the Pope's visit. Thus, many people avoided coming to Jerusalem or travelling anywhere near the area. The Begin Center is perfectly situated to see Mt. Zion where Pope Benedict XVI visited during his stay.
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