Menachem Begin

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Israel is still the only country in the world against which there is a written document to the effect that it must disappear.

Menachem Begin (16 August 19139 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 founded the right-leaning [1] Herut [2], a precursor [3] to his crowning political party, Likud, from which he became "Israel's first non-Socialist prime minister" (1977-1983).

He shared the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize with Egypt's Anwar Sadat[4], whom he welcomed to Jerusalem months after becoming Prime Minister.

Opposition positions[edit]

Much of Menachem Begin's political activity [5]was shaped by his having lived through the Holocaust (see quotes, below).

German government reparations[edit]

He was a key opposition force [6] in 1952's three day Knesset debate, following which a "small majority" [7] (61 in favor, 50 against, 9 abstentions) agreed to accept what so many called "blood money" [8] on behalf of Israel's Holocaust survivors.

bombing Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq[edit]

He took seriously the existential [9] danger to Israel of allowing Iraq to develop nuclear weapons and ordered the preemptive [10] bombing [11] of Iraq's Osirak site.


  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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

Tertiated! Never Again[edit]

  • 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.

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