Begin Menachem
Country Poland
Category Peace
Year 1978

Begin Menachem, 1913 - 1992, Year won 1978, The first Israeli Prime Minister to have signed a peace treaty with an Arab state - Egypt..

Menachem Begin was born in 1913, in Brest-Litovsk, Belarus. He was educated in a traditional-national atmosphere, studied Law at Warsaw University and commenced his public activity at an early age, in the framework of the Zionist-national youth movement, “Beitar”. In 1939, he was chosen as the leader of Beitar in Poland and fulfilled an active role in organizing Aliyah (the immigration) to Israel.

In 1941, Menachem Begin was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment in a Siberian labor camp due to his Zionist activity. However, by the end of that year he was released from prison and joined General Anders’ Polish Army, which arrived in Eretz Israel in May 1942.

In 1943, Menachem Begin took command of the national military organization, the “Irgun” – Beitar Movement’s military wing, and in 1944 declared general rebellion against British rule in Eretz Israel. The rebellion included daring actions against the British, including breaking into Acre Prison and bombing the King David Hotel in Jerusalem which served as the British chief headquarters.

Upon the establishment the State of Israel in 1948, Begin created the Herut Party and was found to be an outstanding parliamentary figure who, for many years, lead the opposition to the Israeli Government. In 1977, Menachem Begin was elected as the seventh Prime Minister of Israel.

The greatest achievement of the Government headed by him was the signing of the peace treaty with Egypt, achieved following the visit to Jerusalem of the Egyptian President, Anwar-el-Sadat. In 1978, Menachem Begin was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with Sadat, by virtue of this historic peace treaty.

In August 1983, in the midst of the Lebanon War, Menachem Begin resigned from his position as Prime Minister. He secluded himself in his home, refusing to give any reasons for his resignation. Since his death, in March 1992, his secret has remained a mystery.

Menachem Begin was a sharp witted orator who knew how to excite the public with his enthusiasm and stirring speeches. Throughout his life, he was of the opinion that the world should bear responsibility for the suffering of the Jewish people, as he has deduced from the terrible lesson of the holocaust. His struggle for “Jewish power” emanated from this outlook, which he justified by saying: “Not by right of force, but by force of right”.

Menachem Begin was known for his great affection for Eretz Israel and his concern for the Jewish people. He was a humanist and peace loving person, a wise and modest leader, who remained loyal to his convictions.

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