There is a New Faith in Our Future
"There is a New Faith in Our Future" speech by Menachem Begin
JH 34 26/09/77 P. 7
THIS IS the Eve of New Year address by the Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, to leaders of 'Herut' and 'Herut—Hatzohar and Beitar' at Beit Jabotinsky:
"As has been our custom for so many a year, we have gathered to wish one another—Erev Rosh Hashanah—a happy New Year. We do so annually and there is no reason why we should break with this custom this year.
I am here today to express my praise and appreciation to our Movement—to Herut, Hatzohar and Betar. All movements and parties have contributed to the establishment of the State, have taken part in its wars. All have built, exposed themselves to danger, sacrificed and fought, but I have a right—as well as a duty—to tell the truth as is known to us from the very days of our youth. There is no movement to surpass ours in the measure of its devotion, sacrifice and idealism.
This is the Movement that has not flinched from any sacrifices in the diaspora and homeland for the realization of Zionism; this is the Movement that had organised Aliya Bet and established the pre-State military fighting unit, which was the most important martial force since the days of Bar Kochba; and an opponent of the Irgun told me personally that this was the Movement that brought forth all the underground fighters of Etzel and Lechi and surprised the entire world by its devotion and self-sacrifice enabling the Jewish People to establish the Jewish State. This is the Movement of the poor, the faith-imbued and the young.
These three elements have sustained our Movement and enabled it to reach the present stage, and due to them we went from strength to strength, even though many who joined our cause remained personally unknown to us.
There were attempts to remove us from the stage. On three different occasions the attempt was made—through the use of abysmal hatred, prejudice and persecution. This Movement not only stood the test, but prevented civil war and in doing so set an example of almost super-human patience.
The Movement served the nation for 50 years selflessly, zealously guarding general democratic principles in the State since its very birth. For many a year we were the target for the most reprehensible discrimination—discrimination between blood and blood! For years the Government refused to give the widows and orphans of our fighter any sustenance or help. For 29 years we suffered the calamity of the Acre fortress serving as a home for the mentally disabled—though it was a place sanctified by the renewed Jewish heroism and courage. Thank G-d. The present Minister of Health will soon turn the fortress into a national pantheon.
From election to election our strength increased. With the exception of 1951 when the electorate gave us only 8 seats in the Knesset, we went from strength to strength to win over the minds and hearts right up to the 8th Knesset when the difference in Knesset seats between us and the Ma'arach had shrunk to a mere 12, in other words a material difference of 6 1/2 seats only. In the last election we received no less than 49% of the army vote. The youth having left, they moved over to us.
The same happened in the universities and in the cities. We won and as a result we could form the new Government.
I come here to extol and praise our Movement. We did not flinch or retreat in the face of advertsity [adversity- JC], difficulties, sorrow and mourning.
Today the Jewish people stands united behind us. In the eleven weeks since we have been in office we have accomplished far from little. The morale of the people has changed, faces smile again, there is a new faith in our future.
But the main tests are ahead of us.
One of the tests our Movement will be facing will be the elections for the forthcoming Zionist Congress.
I CALL UPON ALL OF US TO MOBILIZE OURSELVES FOR THIS TRIAL OF STRENGTH IN ORDER TO CHANGE THE FACE OF THE 29TH ZIONIST CONGRESS AND TO OBTAIN A MANDATE TO FORM THE NEXT ZIONIST EXECUTIVE. In the United States and elsewhere a membership campaign is in full swing, and from Beit Jabotinsky in Tel Aviv I call on all our friends, all our members and sympathizers throughout the world—to register personally and influence others to do so—and to work and vote for our lists so as to ensure the success of the Revisionist Movement and that of Herut Hatzohar lists at the Zionist Congress to meet early in 1978. For the first time we have good prospects to emerge as the largest party at Congress. TO ACHIEVE SUCH SUCCES IS OF GREAT IMPORTANCE.
And now to something else. It has come to my knowledge that some of our members have expressed disappointment that many members of our Movement have not been absorbed in the new regime. I would like to remind you that we always promised to seek to serve the people rather than seek the posts themselves—and this promise we shall fulfill. We shall do injustice to none; dismiss none merely because of his political views. Our guiding principles shall be justice and righteousness.
With the advent of the New Year, let us pray for peace. Let us do everything to prevent war and advance the cause of true peace and our national security; to assure the life of our children for countless generations to come.
We shall make every effort to improve the economy and advance social justice. We can—and I hope we will—set up here a fine and exemplary society. It is true there have appeared some negative aspects—we must, we can overcome them. Mutual respect, good manners will contribute much. Let each of us serve as an example in our day-to-day.
We shall strive to eliminate poverty in Israel. We shall not tolerate the prevalence of degrading poverty in the State of Israel—with so many forced to exist in appalling overcrowding. We shall remedy this. I called upon World Jewry to double their contributions so as to make it possible for us to tackle these problems, the additional amounts to be earmarked for this great social purpose.
We called—and called again—on our people to come on Aliyah; on the "Yordim"—to come home. We shall mobilize every effort to move Russia and Syria to let our people go.
I call upon the Jewish People to unite around these lofty objectives, and to rally around us, around that movement which served it with love and loyalty for so many years.
A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AND THE ENTIRE JEWISH PEOPLE!