Menachem Begin

Menachem Begin (Hebrew: מְנַחֵם בֵּגִין Menaḥem Begin (IPA: [menaˈχem ˈbeɡin] (listen)); Polish: Mieczysław Biegun (Polish birth name), Polish: Menachem Begin (Polish documents, 1931–1937);[1] Russian: Менахем Вольфович Бегин Menakhem Volfovich Begin; 16 August 1913 – 9 March 1992) was an Israeli politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of Israel. Before the creation of the state of Israel, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944, against the British mandatory government, which was opposed by the Jewish Agency. As head of the Irgun, he targeted the British in Palestine.[2] Later, the Irgun fought the Arabs during the 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine and its chief Begin was also noted as "leader of the notorious terrorist organisation" by the British government and banned from entering the United Kingdom.[3]

Menachem Begin
Begin in 1979
6th Prime Minister of Israel
In office
20 June 1977  10 October 1983
PresidentEphraim Katzir
Yitzhak Navon
Chaim Herzog
Preceded byYitzhak Rabin
Succeeded byYitzhak Shamir
Ministerial roles
1967–1970Minister in the PM's Office
1980–1981Minister of Defense
1983Minister of Defense
Faction represented in the Knesset
1948–1965Herut
1965–1973Gahal
1973–1981Likud
Personal details
Born(1913-08-16)16 August 1913
Brest, Russian Empire
Died9 March 1992(1992-03-09) (aged 78)
Tel Aviv, Israel
Spouse(s)
(m. 1939; died 1982)
ChildrenZe'ev Binyamin
Hasia
Leah
Alma materUniversity of Warsaw
Signature
Military service
Allegiance Poland
Yishuv
Branch/service Anders' Army (1941–42)
Irgun (1943–48)
Rank Corporal
Leader of the Irgun
Battles/wars

Begin was elected to the first Knesset, as head of Herut, the party he founded, and was at first on the political fringe, embodying the opposition to the Mapai-led government and Israeli establishment. He remained in opposition in the eight consecutive elections (except for a national unity government around the Six-Day War), but became more acceptable to the political center. His 1977 electoral victory and premiership ended three decades of Labor Party political dominance.

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. In the wake of the Camp David Accords, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula, which was captured from Egypt in the Six-Day War. Later, Begin's government promoted the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Begin authorized the bombing of the Osirak nuclear plant in Iraq and the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 to fight PLO strongholds there, igniting the 1982 Lebanon War. As Israeli military involvement in Lebanon deepened, and the Sabra and Shatila massacre, carried out by Christian Phalangist militia allies of the Israelis, shocked world public opinion,[4] Begin grew increasingly isolated.[5] As IDF forces remained mired in Lebanon and the economy suffered from hyperinflation, the public pressure on Begin mounted. Depressed by the death of his wife Aliza in November 1982, he gradually withdrew from public life, until his resignation in October 1983.