Menachem Begin

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Menachem Begin "was born in Brest-Litovsk, Poland on 16 August 1913, son of Zeev-Dov and Hassia Begin. He was educated at the Mizrachi Hebrew School and the Polish Gymnasium (High School). In 1931, he entered Warsaw University and took his law degree in 1935.

"Until the age of 13 he belonged to the Hashomer Hatza'ir scout movement, and at the age of 16 joined Betar (Brit Trumpeldor), the nationalist youth movement associated with the Zionist Revisionist Movement. In 1932 he became head of the Organization Department of Betar for Poland travelling on its behalf throughout the country, and contributing many articles to the revisionist press. He was sent to Czechoslovakia to head the movement there.

"In 1937 he returned to Poland, and for a time was imprisoned for leading a demonstration, in front of the British Legation in Warsaw, protesting against British policy in Palestine. He organized groups of Betar members who went to Palestine as illegal immigrants, and in 1939 became the head of the movement in Poland. On the outbreak of World War II, he was arrested by the Russian authorities and in 1940-41 was confined in concentration camps in Siberia and elsewhere, but was released under the terms of the Stalin-Sikorski agreement.

"On his release he joined the Polish army and was transferred to the Middle East. After demobilization, in 1943, he assumed command of the Irgun Zvati Leumi (National Military Organization), known by the initials of its Hebrew name as "Etzel". In this capacity he directed Etzel's operations against the British, and the Palestine Government offered a reward of £ 10,000 for information leading to his arrest, but he evaded capture by living in disguise in Tel Aviv. In 1947, he met in secret with several members of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine as well as the foreign press, to explain the outlook of his movement.

"After the establishment of the State of Israel, he founded the Herut Movement, together with his colleagues, and headed the party's list of candidates for the Knesset. He has been a member of the Knesset since the first elections.

"On 1 June 1967, Mr. Begin joined the Government of National Unity in which he served as Minister without Portfolio until 4 August 1970.

"On June 20, 1977, Mr. Menachem Begin, head of the Likud party - after having won the Knesset elections (17 May 1977) - presented the new Government to the Knesset and became Prime Minister of Israel.

"His publications include "White Nights" (describing his wartime experience in Europe), "The Revolt", which has been translated into several languages, and numerous articles.

"He is married to Aliza (nee Arnold), and has a son and two daughters." [1]

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References

  1. Biography, Nobel Peace Prize, accessed September 22, 2007.