Sunday, September 20, 2009

Center Bulletin, Vol, 5 No. 46

Menachem Begin Heritage Center Bulletin Vol. 5 No. 46 | 10 September 2009





On 27 August, 2009, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center celebrated in grand style a number of landmark events. Following is the translated text of the speech given by Herzl Makov, Chairman of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center:

I am pleased and privileged to personally update you on a special celebration that we held on 7 Elul, 27 August, 2009, in the Menachem Begin Heritage Center marking ten years since the establishment of the Center, five years since the opening of the permanent building and having over 500,000 visitors to the Center since then.

Ten years have passed since the government established the organization and appointed the public council in accordance with the Menachem Begin Commemoration Law adopted by the Knesset by the initiative of then Member of Knesset Reuven Rivlin. Over the next five years, we dedicated ourselves completely to the planning and construction of the building as well as designing and initiating commemoration and education activities which would be the foundation of Center activities.

In the summer of 2004, in the presence of the heads of the State of Israel, the contributors and followers of Menachem Begin, we inaugurated the building. We remember that many of the guests admitted then that they had doubts about bringing forth the dream of the Begin Center into reality. They were happy to be proved wrong.

With much excitement, we opened the doors to the public. And the public indeed came. More than 500,000 visitors came to the Center in its five years of activity. They walked in the footsteps of Menachem Begin through the museum. They were moved to tears from the strength of his image. They experienced his leadership. They were uplifted by his speeches. They admired his personality. School students participated in the Junior Knesset program and through role-playing activities learned the parliamentary process. IDF soldiers participated in leadership workshops; workshops focusing on Israel as a Jewish and democratic state; and they learned the history of the Zionist struggle to establish the State of Israel. Additionally, the general public participated in a wide variety of lectures, tours, events, each of which was another brick in building Menachem Begin's heritage. We have tried to carry out all the activities guided by Menachem Begin the man and in his spirit – with modesty, with integrity and with a strong sense of commitment to Am Israel.

Success is not achieved alone and we have many partners – the many contributors whose generosity built the building and help to maintain activities; members of the Foundation and the Public Council; the Executive Committee that gave us its support and backing; and especially our staff whose devotion, love and abilities assist us in achieving our goals. We also remember with affection a man who we greatly miss, our dearest Harry Hurwitz z''l, who as early as 1993 was recruited by the founders of the Foundation in a professional and full-time capacity to raise the funds that enabled the fulfillment of the dream. From the beginning, and until his last day, Harry had the chance to see the Center become a reality, grow and thrive.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you personally for your support and thank the Almighty for allowing me the immense privilege and incredible honor of being a partner in this great endeavor of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center.

The video of highlights of the evening including entrance to the event, interviews and excerpts from the speeches through the evening (in Hebrew) is available for viewing at the Begin Center's YouTube Channel.


On September 21 it will be one year since Harry Hurwitz z"l, former Head of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center and President of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation, passed away. Because it is also the Fast of Gedaliah, the timing of the memorial events have been pushed toward the end of the day and in coordination with the breaking of the fast. The short ceremony at the cemetery will be at 5:30pm. At 7:15pm, the fast will be broken with light refreshments at the Begin Center and a memorial ceremony will take place afterwards. Hillel Hurwitz, Harry's son, will speak on behalf of the family and Ilana Brown, Harry's former assistant, will also speak. Herzl Makov will speak on behalf of the Center.


Last week, the Jerusalem Post published an opinion piece by Shalom Hammer in which he lamented that the Israeli school system failed to teach young people values and encouraged a quantity of knowledge, not a quality of knowledge. (To see the article, please see this link.) Using this as an opportunity to highlight the values-driven leadership workshops created by the Begin Center, Herzl Makov, Chairman of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, wrote a letter to the editor that was published on September 3. The text of the letter is as follows and can be read here.

Sir, - In "Back to school" (Shalom Hammer, August 31), the author states: Israeli education is predicated upon quantitative education as opposed to qualitative education... They program our children to amass volume as opposed to embracing values, and this breeds a society of ego-centricity."

This insight into the pedagogic problems that exist in Israel is at the heart of the educational workshops offered by the Begin Center, including one on "Value-Driven Leadership."

Much of the thrust of the Begin Center's projects, in formal and informal education as well as the rationale behind the museum, is to suggest to participants and visitors that beyond the historical facts, Menachem Begin sought to influence the Jewish people on the basis not only of benefits for the individual, but, more importantly, in values such as joint responsibility, Jewish heritage, concern for the life of the nation and the need to assist Jews in difficulty.


August 30 – September 27

"Slichot" an art exhibition hosted in cooperation with M'mizrach HaShemesh (Jewish Traditional Social Responsibility – founded by Avi Chai and Kol Israel Haverim). For more information, please go to their website:

October 21

Open House for new courses at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. Seven new courses will be taught on subjects ranging from Judaism, the History of Israel, Promoting Israel, etc. The courses will be in Hebrew. This is the second year of courses at the Begin Cente r and we look forward to another successful year.


This week on September 9, 2009, the fourth session of the Israel Government Fellows (IGF) Program began with 25 Fellows from the US, Canada, Germany, France, Serbia, Russia and Venezuela. After a month-long orientation session, they will begin their internships in various government ministries, including the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Finance, Tourism, Justice and at the President's Residence.

4th Session of the IGF

The Israel Government Fellows Program is endorsed by the Prime Minister's Office and its mission is to strengthen the connection between Israel and the Diaspora and to promote Jewish leadership globally, inspired by Menachem Begin's commitment to Jewish unity and his model of value-driven leadership. Throughout the program, the Fellows will attend seminars as well as their internship placements, learning from experts in their fields about Israel's history, its place in the world today and the challenges it faces, as well as topics as diverse as Zionist history, security issues, economic issues, Jewish identification, the environment, Israel in the media and Israeli culture and arts, etc. In addition to full days of work, they will attend classes in the evening to learn Hebrew. The Fellows will also tour the country on monthly trips.

Jason Reinin, from California, participated in the IGF in the last session (2008-2009) and who currently works in the Ministry of Finance after his internship, said this:

My year in the IGF was the most educational, inspiring and interesting year of my life. I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to use their full potential to contribute to this amazing country while at the same time take away once-in-a-lifetime experiences they will never forget.

Other past participants have found work in Israeli consulates, working with the Jewish Agency or other work in which they help promote Israel. Many former participants were so inspired by their experience, that they made aliyah to be a part of Israel directly and work for Israel here, rather than in their home countries.

The Menachem Begin Heritage Center, in fulfilling its mission to pass on Menachem Begin's heritage to future generations, has initiated the Israel Government Fellows Program to start to build the next generation of leadership in the Diaspora. Begin also believed very strongly in building ties between Israel and the Diaspora and in this program, Fellows spend ten months living in Israel learning about Israel as a democratic state in the Middle East which gives them deep, first-hand knowledge of Israel as opposed to an academic understanding of Israel.

Funds directed to the IGF Program can be used in a variety of ways. Funds for the program can increase the quantity and quality of programming including seminars, trips and courses outside the internship experience. More significant contributions can be used for scholarships for participants. MASA provides scholarships, as well as grants to those with financial need. However, the cost of the program and its associated cost of living in Israel for ten months without income is still prohibitive for qualified participants from Eastern Europe or Latin and South America, as well as qualified participants who simply cannot financially afford to dedicate a year to Israel.

We invite our readers to visit the Israel Government Fellows website at and view the video online here.

For a more precise breakdown of costs associated with the program, tuition, MASA grants and for other questions, please direct your inquiries to

Checks may be sent to:

US Friends of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation
3901 West 86th Street, Suite 470
Indianapolis, IN 46268

Canadian Friends of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation
One Yorkdale Road, Suite 601
Toronto, ON M6A 3A1

Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation
c/o Mr. Eric Graus
139a, New Bond St.
London WIS 2TN

Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation
6 Nahon Street
Jerusalem 94110
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