Thursday, July 2, 2009

Center Bulletin, Vol. 5, No. 36




According to our count, the Begin Center has passed the significant mark of its 500,000 visitor having come to the Center. As noted in a previous bulletin, a full day’s activities program will be held on August 27 to celebrate this event along with marking the fifth year since the Center opened its door to the public.
On Thursday, July 21, following the state-sponsored commemorative ceremony at Mount Herzl for Ze’ev Jabotinsky and his wife, Yohanna, the Begin Center will conduct a memorial ceremony. The poet Miron Issacson and Professor Yehuda Friedlander will address the topic of “Jabotinsky: Poet and Author”, Hanan Yovel will sing three songs, one especially composed for the event based of poems written by Jabotinsky, the Bnei Binyamin choir will also sing and Habimah actor, Oded Tehomi, will recite portions from Jabotinsky’s writings.

The Cinema Club on Thursday evening, July 2, will be showing the film, “Qassam” and Noam Bedein, director of the Sderot Media Center will give a talk.

The 26th Jerusalem Film Festival, once again, will be showing several of the films at the Reuben Hecht Auditorium of the Begin Center between July 10 -17.Among the films that will be seen at the Center are “Lightbulb”, The Last Krasucky”,”Vincere” and “Accidental Tourist” among others.


David Ivri, Israel Air Force Commander at the time of the bombing of Iraq’s reactor, was filmed this week for the program of the Kadishai Archives on receiving depositions, testimonies and other material from persons connected to the legacy and lifework of Menachem Begin. He provided documents as well as a long interview on aspects of the decision and operation.

In addition, the filmmaker preparing material for a drama treatment of The Revolt spent several days reviewing archival material and books in the Hasten Library as well as discussing aspects of the film and possible script development with senior staff.


The Educational Unit continues with its programs. This week, in addition to Hebrew-language Junior Knesset workshop, one was held in Spanish for a group visiting via the Jewish Agency. Several police units underwent leadership seminars and soldiers were challenged in workshops on Israel: A Jewish-Democratic State. Dozens of participants took part in these programs.


Menachem Begin had been, and continues to be, an object of intense animosity directed to him by ideological and political rivals and critics. The Center has received over the years numerous requests for information about one particularly invidious statement, supposedly made by Mr. Begin.

Many Internet web sites carry the quotation which, in part, reads: “Our race is the Master Race. We Jews are divine gods on this planet. We are as different from the inferior races as they are from insects...Our destiny is to rule over the inferior races. Our earthly kingdom will be ruled by our leader with a rod of iron. The masses will lick our feet and serve us as our slaves." Anyone with a modicum of knowledge of Begin’s world-view will quickly realize that those words are an abominable lie and fabrication. The source for the quotation is given as “a speech to the Knesset quoted in “Begin and the Beasts," New Statesman, June 25, 1982.

The name of the author of the article in question is Amnon Kapeliouk. As we previously noted at the Begin Center Diary, the quotation is a disingenuous reworking of another misquotation which indeed was penned by Kapeliouk. We are referring to the “two-legged beasts” imagery Begin spoke of at the time of the First Lebanon War. Begin used the description in connection with terrorists, not Arabs. In actuality, on June 8, 1982, Begin addressed the Knesset in response to a no-confidence motion over Israel's invasion of Lebanon. He talked about defending the children of Israel, and according to a June 9, 1982 AP report, "his voice quaver[ed] with anger and sadness." According to the minutes of the session, Begin stated:

“The children of Israel will happily go to school and joyfully return home, just like the children in Washington, in Moscow, and in Peking, in Paris and in Rome, in Oslo, in Stockholm and in Copenhagen. The fate of... Jewish children has been different from all the children of the world throughout the generations. No more. We will defend our children. If the hand of any two-footed animal is raised against them, that hand will be cut off, and our children will grow up in joy in the homes of their parent.”

In any case, Kapeliouk died last week.
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