Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Just Published: A New Book on Menachem Begin from the Israel State Archives

A recent survey showed that Israelis regard Menachem Begin, Israel's sixth prime minister from 1977 until 1983, as one of their greatest leaders, second only to David Ben-Gurion.

We announce today the publication of a new book on Menachem Begin in the ISA series on Israel's late prime ministers and presidents – a collection of letters, papers and speeches edited by Professor Arye Naor (who was Cabinet Secretary at the time) and Dr. Arnon Lammfromm of the ISA. The historical introductions and the 191 documents in the book, most of them published for the first time, show Begin's career from his early years in the Betar movement in Poland, until his retirement from public life following the war in Lebanon and his wife's death. The book is in Hebrew, with a short introduction in English.


Menachem Begin was born in 1913 in Brisk (Brest-Litovsk), and came to Palestine during World War II. After leading the IZL (Irgun Zvai Leumi) underground movement against British rule before the establishment of the State of Israel, he became the leader of the Herut party. He came to power only after many years in opposition, although he served as a minister without portfolio in the government of Levi Eshkol during the Six day War.

Begin is also remembered for his concern for Jewish tradition, his attempts to help the disadvantaged sections of Israel's population, and of course his contribution to peace with Egypt. The ISA recently issued a digital online publication to mark the 35th anniversary of the signing of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty in March 1979, which includes many documents, photographs and video clips of Menachem Begin together with Jimmy Carter and Anwar Sadat, the three leaders who changed the history of the Middle East. An English version is also available on our website.

Aliza and Menachem Begin on their way to the signing ceremony in Washington, March 1979
(Yaacov Sa'ar, Government Press Office)
To mark the 100th birthday of Menachem Begin, we also published here a collection of links to other blogs in English on different aspects of Begin's career.

To order the commemorative volume, please contact Leeya Ben-Tsvi at (972)-2-5680633 or leya@archives.gov.il.

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