A Year of Pain Ended, a Year of Problems Begun

Article by Begin shortly before Rosh Hashana 1974, recounting the events and mistakes that led to the Yom Kippur War. The non-mobilization of the reserves by the government during the 10 days of repentance in 1973 would go down in history as “The Blunder” because of just how devastating and fatal that non-action turned out to be. Jews need to learn that government ministers are not all wise. They can make stupid mistakes as well, even with access to information ordinary citizens do not have. He brings examples from Britain and the USSR’s responses to Nazi Germany and from Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal. The government is heading towards another colossal blunder by abandoning the principles of demanding a peace treaty with direct negotiations and not withdrawing from any territories without said peace treaty. The result will be that Israel will lose territory and not gain any peace.

Disturbing Reports of Ill-Treatment of Zion Prisoners in the U.S.S.R.

A speech Begin gave in the Knesset about the plight of the Prisoners of Zion in the Soviet Union. Begin begins by describing hardened criminals who abuse the political prisoners forced to travel with them from prison to prison. Among these political prisoners are the Prisoners of Zion, who only wished to immigrate to Israel. Begin says that Israel should demand that the UN set of a commission of inquiry to investigate the conditions of political prisoners in the USSR. The Kremlin is giving voice to anti-Semitic propaganda and increasing the risk of violence and pogroms against Soviet Jews. The Speaker of the Knesset should ask the US Congress to pass a resolution to release all Prisoners of Zion and The Prime Minister should ask President Nixon to meet with top Russian officials on their behalf. Begin ends his speech by wishing for the return of all Prisoners of Zion to Israel and Jerusalem.

Menachem Begin Calls for the Evacuation of Soviet Jewry

A speech Begin gave at the Knesset after the Munich Massacre. All of Israel is in mourning. Nothing like this has happened before in the more-than-1000 year history of the Olympics. The government must abandon the philosophy of just retaliating when Israelis and Jews are attacked. It needs to take offensive action against the terrorists so that they are unable to kill again. After the Holocaust, Jews need to be sure that Israel is defending them and that they can defend themselves. An international convention is a good idea, but it would take years to be ratified and implemented by the various countries of the world, and as the terrorist threat exists now, it must be dealt with now militarily. Gahal also asks the government to rescind the ban on the death penalty in Israel. Eretz Israel belongs to the Jews, and Israel cannot give concessions to or make peace with terrorists who only want to destroy it.

Herut’s Role in New Knesset

Begin speaks to the new Knesset focusing on his disappointments and lack of confidence in the new Government. Throughout the speech, he repeats that within the Government “‘yes’ is not ‘yes’; ‘no’ is not ‘no.'” He first discusses members’ actions in finding a loophole around the law the fifth Knesset adopted. He also discusses the actions of the new Minister of Labour, who demands Sabbath Law. This Minister demands the Ashdod Port to be closed on Shabbat, but because this could damage the national economy, he will determine if the port needs to operate on Shabbat. Ultimately, he argues that national action needs to happen and shares the actions Herut wants to take.

The Government Must Go for the Nation’s Sake

Begin calls for the resignation of the Israeli government over its mishandling of the Lavon Affair. In particular, he objects to the passing of classified documents, previously kept from the government, to a reporter, and the government’s inaction in response.