Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Begin Goes Google

PM Netanyahu Launches Virtual Exhibit to Mark the Centenary of the Birth of Menachem Begin

(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, yesterday evening (Monday, 16 September 2013), launched a virtual exhibit to mark the centenary of the birth of Menachem Begin. Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, Menachem Begin Heritage Center Chairman Herzl Makov and Google Israel Research and Development Director Yossi Matias also attended the event.

Menachem Begin is the first Israeli personality to be remembered in a joint initiative between the Google Cultural Institute and museums and cultural institutions around the world. The goal of the initiative is to render the materials in cultural institutions more accessible to various publics around the world via the Internet.

With photographs and video clips, the exhibit tells the life story of Menachem Begin, starting with his birth in Poland, through his activities in the Betar movement, his imprisonment by the Soviets, his arrival in the Land of Israel, his war to liberate the homeland and the key roles he played in Israeli politics – in the opposition, as a minister and as Prime Minister.

Menachem Begin Heritage Center Chairman Makov showed Prime Minister Netanyahu photographs of the signing of the peace agreement with Egypt as well as the peace agreement itself, signed by Prime Minister Begin, US President Jimmy Carter and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and a quote by Begin ("Under no circumstances will we allow an enemy to develop weapons of mass destruction to be used against our people. We will defend the citizens of Israel, at the proper time, with all means at our disposal.") regarding the bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor in June 1981.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "Menachem Begin taught us that peace is made and upheld only with the strong. There is much to learn from this splendid exhibit about this exemplary personality. Here one may surf our collective memory which is composed of the great spirit and the great deeds of great people."

Culture and Sports Minister Livnat said, "No subject is more appropriate than Menachem Begin to be the subject of an exhibit that allows anyone in the world to study his outstanding personality, his love of Israel and his abiding commitment to liberal values, including freedom of expression, equal opportunity and the reduction of social gaps. In many ways, Google is probably the most popular means in the world for making information more accessible, which provides a person with freedom, the same freedom that stood as the base of the liberal outlook which Menachem Begin clung to his entire life. Begin led a political-social revolution in Israel, and Google is leading an information technology revolution. Today we link the two so that Begin's life and deeds will be accessible to all at the click of a mouse."

Menachem Begin Heritage Center Chairman Makov said, "With the launch of this exhibit on the Google site we are emphasizing the heritage and work of Menachem Begin among millions and perhaps billions of people around the world. This is a moving moment for us and a very significant moment in the history of the Center."

Google Israel Research and Development Director Matias said, "The internet has led to the democratization of the arts, history and heritage, and is able to help preserve important material for the future such as documents, photographs and letters, which over time might be forgotten and could disappear. Via the Google Cultural Institute, we are pleased to provide the technology through which the people at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center will be able to upload archival material and, from the physical exhibit, provide background documentation and context, and render it accessible to people around the world."

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