Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Center Bulletin, Vol. 5, No. 40

Menachem Begin Heritage Center Bulletin Vol. 5, No. 40, 30 July 2009



The Menachem Begin Heritage Center will celebrate 5 years since the building on Ketef Hinnom was opened to the public and having welcomed over half a million visitors. The event will be on August 27.

This momentous occasion will be celebrated with a number of activities open to the public. In the Reuben Hecht Auditorium, two lectures will be held by the Begin Center's most popular lecturers. At 7:00pm, Dr. Micha Goodman, of the Parashat HaShavua lecture series, will speak about Philosophical Aspects of Biblical Heroes. At 8:00pm, Dr. Udi Lebel, author of Road to the Pantheon will speak about Coming out of the Underground: The Right Wing in Israeli Memory, Then and Now. At 9:00pm, there will be a screening of the award-winning Israeli film The Band's Visit. For more information on this film please see here. On the Simon Family Terrace, the Dondorme Youth Orchestra will play rousing tunes at 9:30pm. Free tours will be available for those who are interested. The Menachem Begin Museum, with tours every half an hour, will be free and will run from 6:00pm until 9:30pm. A special tour outside the Center called Two Blasts that Shook Jerusalem will take place leaving every hour from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. This tour will visit the Old Train Station and the King David Hotel.

PLEASE NOTE: All events are free and entrance will be on a first come, first served basis EXCEPT museum tours and tours outside the Center. The tours are by RESERVATION ONLY and SPACE IS LIMITED. Reservations will NOT be accepted before August 20.

Location Time Event
Reuben Hecht Auditorium 7:00pm Dr. Micha Goodman
Philosophical Aspects of Biblical Heroes
8:00pm Dr. Udi Lebel
Coming out of the Underground: The Right Wing in Israeli Memory, Then and Now
9:00pm Screening of The Band's Visit
Simon Family Balcony 9:30pm Dondorme Orchestra
External Tour to the Old Train Station and the King David Hotel 6:00pm to 9:00pm, leaving every hour Two Blasts that Shook Jerusalem
Museum Tour 6:00pm to 9:30pm, leaving every half hour The Menachem Begin Heritage Museum


Tisha B'Av recalls the extraordinary action by Prime Minister Menachem Begin in New York on his first official visit after his election victory.
He was being interviewed on the Meet the Press program on Sunday, July 24, 1977. When asked to comment on his meeting a few days earlier with President Carter, Mr. Begin said to Bill Monroe of NBC News:

"With your permission, before I answer this very important question, I would like to say a few words about the day we now meet, because of its universal importance. Today, in accordance with our calendar, it is the Ninth of the month of Av. It is the day when 1,907 years ago the Roman Legions, the Fifth and the Twelfth, launched their ultimate onslaught on the Temple Mountain, set this temple ablaze and destroyed Jerusalem, subjugating our people and conquering our land.
Historically, this is the beginning of all the suffering of our people dispersed, humiliated and ultimately now a generation physically destroyed. We remember that day and now have the responsibility to make sure that never again will our independence be destroyed and never again will the Jew become homeless or defenseless. Actually this is the crux of the problems facing us in the future."


Yoram Ettinger wrote an Op-Ed in Ynet this week about Jerusalem and to readers of his personal email missives, he wrote: What would have been Prime Minister Begin's "Jerusalem-Response" to President Obama's aim to repartition Jerusalem?
He quoted from Ambassador (ret.) Yehuda Avner, who served under five Prime Ministers, who writes in his forthcoming book (summer 2010), The Prime Ministers – An Intimate Portrait of Leaders of Israel:

"At the very end of [Prime Minister Begin's] successful Camp David talks with Jimmy Carter and Anwar Sadat in 1978, literally minutes before the signing ceremony, the American president had approached [Begin] with "Just one final formal item." Sadat, said the president, was asking that Begin put his signature to a simple letter committing him to place Jerusalem on the negotiating table of the final peace accord.

"I refused to accept the letter, let alone sign it," rumbled Begin. "'If I forgot thee O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning,' said [Begin] to the president of the United States of America, 'and may my tongue cleave to my mouth.'"

"Admonishment of the British foreign secretary, [Lord Carrington], telling him in almost so many words to mind his own business, and… saying [Carrington] should open his Bible 'and read the First Book of Kings, chapter two, verse eleven, where you will find that King David moved his capital from Hebron, where he had reigned for seven years, to Jerusalem where he ruled for another thirty-three years, and this at a time [3,000 years ago] when the civilized world had never heard of London.'”

"[Addressing US Jewish leaders]: 'Jerusalem is an epic. It is the wellspring of a civilization. Without Jerusalem's civilization the spiritual history of the world would be stagnant. To us Jerusalem is family. Has anyone ever heard of a daughter or a son of a Saladin ever fasting each year in memory of ancient Jerusalem's anguish? Not a one! Has anybody ever heard of a son of a Crusader who breaks a glass at his wedding ceremony in memory of ancient Jerusalem's torment? Not a one! How could you have heard, when throughout its three thousand year-long history Jerusalem has been capital to no one but to the Jews. So it was. So it is. And so it shall ever be.'"

And from our own museum, we bring you the text of Menachem Begin's speech in 1978 at the Jerusalem Day ceremony on Ammunition Hill. This excerpt is played in the Barry and Sindy Liben Jerusalem Elevator dedicated to American Betar, which is the final dramatic station of the Menachem Begin Museum:

Once again, we are gathered here today to honor the men, thanks to whom we were able to say 11 years ago: “Our feet are standing inside your gates, O Jerusalem; Jerusalem, which is built as a city rejoined.”

And thanks to them, every generation in Israel will be able to say again these eternal words of Israel’s beloved Singer of Songs.

We are here. In the name of the brave and saintly warriors, and upon agreement with all the People of Israel, we declare: Jerusalem was liberated, Jerusalem was redeemed. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the Jewish people. Jerusalem will be forever one, united and free!
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