48 Massacre Tale Not True

A reprinting of a chapter from Begin’s book, THE REVOLT, which appeared as part of a series of reprints of Begin’s book in the New York Post. Begin describes the events surrounding the battle of Dir Yassin, which was called a massacre in the international media and by the Labor Zionists. Dir Yassin was a strategically important village from which attacks against aid convoys to Jerusalem were launched. The Etzel and the Lehi launched a joint operation to capture the village and provide relief to Jewish forces in Jerusalem. The Etzel warned the civilians to leave before the fighting, giving up the element of surprise. The fighting in Dir Yassin was intense, leading to many casualties on both sides. Arab forces hoping to gain a propaganda victory spread rumors about a wanton massacre at Dir Yassin, and Labor elements, hoping to discredit the Etzel as political opponents, also helped spread the rumor. The unintended result was the fleeing or surrendering of Arabs throughout the country, making the overall war effort much easier for Jewish forces.

Begin Tells Britain Why Irgun Fought

In response to new accusations of a massacre at Deir Yassin, Begin explains the Irgun’s policies. He also goes into specific detail about the events at Deir Yassin, noting that it was an armed Arab outpost and any non-combatants killed, died in the course of a battle.

Encounters with Jewish Youth

Begin shares his various encounters with Zionist youth, nationally and internationally. In one situation, American Zionists associated with Hashomer Hatzair distributed leaflets comparing Gahal to Fatah outside of Begin’s hotel. The leaflet argues that both want to be in complete control of the entire region, and the conclusion they draw is that neither Gahal nor Fatah will bring peace and justice to the Middle East. Begin is more upset about Zionists publically shaming Israel than his party being compared to Fatah. He also shares the response he gives to Zionist youth who ask him about Deir Yassin. Begin then shifts to sharing positive interactions with Zionist youth. He focuses on Russian Jews and their nationalistic beliefs. Begin briefly brings up the increase in aliyah post- Six Day War and concludes that he hopes that more Zionist youth will bring comfort, instead of distress regarding the future of Israel.

I Refuse to Bow Before Authoritarianism

Begin shares the uproar that took place in the Knesset after it had voted a motion of no confidence in the Government. While referring to a specific battle involving Jerusalem in the War of Independence, Ben Gurion argues that members of the Irgun and Herut opposed this war and even called it a Tisha B’Av. To correct Ben Gurion’s parphrase, Begin then quotes what he said during a debate in the First Knesset on Jerusalem. He gives battle descriptions and explains why he used the term Tisha B’Av. Begin then directs a few paragraphs about Ben Gurion and Ben Gurion’s hatred towards Begin. Begin describes himself as respectful, and one who “despise[s] authoritarianism, self-adulation, presumptuousness of the heart and the distortion of the truth.” Begin concludes that he fought for liberty during the War of Independence, and it was Ben Gurion who did not.

The Lion Cub Of Judah Has Arisen

Begin speaks at the unveiling of Dov Gruner’s memorial in Ramat Gan. He reflects on Etzel’s purpose and the determined Etzel soldiers. He then reminds the audience that Etzel soldiers were not the first dissidents in Jewish history. Begin also explains that a key difference between Israel and other nations is that unlike other nations in war, Israel did not have any allies. This meant that Israel’s only weapons were weapons conquered from its enemy. Begin shifts to speak of the battle in which Gruner was captured and then shares the powerful words spoken to British judges by Gruner, Avshalom Habib, and Ya’acov Weiss. With Gruner’s and other soldiers’ dedication, Begin proudly announced that the nearby British fortress is guarded by Hebrew policemen. Begin then speaks about the significance of the memorial for Gruner being the Lion Cub of Judah. He concludes stating that the spirit of freedom and faith in justice will continue to exist in the Jewish nation forever.