Menachem Begin (16 August 1913 – 9 March 1992) was an Israeli politician and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before Independence, he was the leader of the Zionist militant Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on February 1, 1944, against the British mandatory government, which was opposed by the Jewish Agency. He played a significant role in Jewish resistance against the British control in the waning years of the mandate, leading the more militant faction within Zionism. Begin's most significant achievement as Prime Minister was the signing of a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979, for which he and Anwar Sadat shared the Nobel Prize for Peace.
- The Partition of Palestine is illegal. It will never be recognized .... Jerusalem was and will for ever be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And for Ever.
- Iron Wall, p. 25 & Simha Flapan, p. 32
- Israel will not transfer Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza District to any foreign sovereign authority, [because] of the historic right of our nation to this land, [and] the needs of our national security, which demand a capability to defend our State and the lives of our citizens."
- Iron Wall, p. 356
- Mr. President, I wish to tell you something personal - not about me, but about my generation. What you have just heard about the Jewish people's inherent rights to the Land of Israel may seem academic to you, theoretical, even moot. But not to my generation. To my generation of Jews these eternal bonds are indisputable and incontrovertible truths, as old as recorded time. They touch upon the very core of our national being. Ours is an almost biblical generation of suffering and courage. Ours is the generation of Destruction and Redemption. Ours is the generation that rose up from the bottomless pit of Hell. We were a helpless people, Mr. President. We were bled white, not once, not twice, but century after century, over and over again. We lost a third of our people in one generation - mine. One-and-a-half million of them were children - ours. No one came to our rescue. We were tertiated, Mr. President. ... Tertiated, not decimated. The origin of the word 'decimation' is one in 10. When a Roman legion was found guilty of insubordination one in 10 was put to the sword. In our case it was one in three - tertiated! ... Sir, I take an oath before you in the name of the Jewish people - this will never ever happen again.
- Amb. Yehuda Avner's account of a meeting with U.S. President Jimmy Carter (July 1977)
- Israel is still the only country in the world against which there is a written document to the effect that it must disappear.
- Palestinians! This is an unacceptable reference. Jews are also Palestinians. He must mean 'Palestinian Arabs'.
Conquered territory! Gaza was also conquered by Egypt
Sinai settlements! There is a national consensus in Israel that the settlements must stay!
- 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 parents.
- Knesset address (June 8, 1982) per 4 October 2004 article "Exposing False Zionist Quotes II" by Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America
- In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him. This was a war of self-defence in the noblest sense of the term. The government of national unity then established decided unanimously: We will take the initiative and attack the enemy, drive him back, and thus assure the security of Israel and the future of the nation.
- Upon completion of the centennial of your birth – and this time only – we have come to address some remarks at your graveside. We report to you, Rosh Betar, that Jerusalem, the city that has become bound together, the eternal capital of Israel and of the Land of Israel, shall not be subjected to any division and is our liberated and indivisible capital and so it shall remain from generation to generation.
The western part of the Land of Israel is entirely under our control and it shall not be partitioned anymore. No part of this land shall be given over to a foreign administration, to foreign sovereignty.
We believe that a day will come when the two parts of the Land of Israel shall establish, peacefully, in agreement and understanding a covenant of alliance, a free confederation, for the purpose of join cooperation
Quotes about Begin
- The reason for raising this is that the Israeli position in the past was that they would withdraw from the West Bank, and I believe that Prime Minister Begin left the Cabinet over this issue.
On the West Bank and Gaza, Prime Minister Begin put forward a proposal which could be the core around which an agreement could be reached.
- an agreement on the Sinai might come first, with a later accord on "Judea and Samaria." ('Begin always referred to the West Bank by the two biblical names - I presume to engender the notion that this was the promised land which God Himself had given to the Jews.)
- The war in Lebanon cannot be interpreted, even by its most devoted proponents in Israel, as a war of survival. For this reason, the government has gone to extraordinary lengths to dehumanize the Palestinians. 'Begin described them in a speech at the Knesset as 'beasts walking on two legs'. Palestinians have often been calls 'bugs' while their refugee camps in Lebanon are referred to as 'tourist camps'. In order to rationalize the bombing of civilian populations, Begin emotively declared 'If Hitler was sitting in a house with 20 other people, would it be correct to blow up the house?"
- Begin and the 'beasts', New Statesman, June 25, 1982 by Amnon Kapeliok