Issues and Answers – Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters interviews Prime Minister Begin on “ABC” about the progress of the peace process with Egypt, the meaning of Palestinian Arab autonomy, reactions to the Iranian hostage crisis and the Olympic Games in Moscow. He closes with how he wishes to be remembered.

More than P.M.’s Credibility is at Stake

Begin focuses on Golda Meir’s statements of resigning from premiership. He argues that a key problem is that if she does not follow through, then she will be seen as a leader that does not follow her word. He continues that Israel’s leader losing credibility hurts Israel’s diplomacy. He shifts to argue that the United States needs to recognize that there is a partnership between Israel and the U.S. Israel is not a charity State. To support his argument, he speaks about Israel helping prevent U.S. soldiers being killed in Vietnam. However, Begin points out that Meir does not publically share this assistance. Begin also touches upon the current majority of the Government wanting to partition the Homeland. He concludes that Israel and its representatives need to remind the international community that Israel is a “free people [that] will make its own decision about its future, its security and its peace.”

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.

Dictatorships Receive Blessing of an Unwary World

Begin discusses dictatorial regimes around the world and the reactions by many other governments and groups, particularly socialists. He also discusses one-party democracies and develops a number of arguments against these forms of government.

Begin Renews Call to Liberals

Coming from the newspaper “Herut,” Begin argues that although it currently is impossible to form a Government without Mapai, it is crucial for there to be a quantitative and representative Opposition to Mapai. Begin first writes about the difference between a free nation and a subjugated nation. Then he speaks about the different parties and these parties’ relationship with Mapai, and that the Liberal Party is considering not joining Mapai. Begin explains why Herut cannot agree to join a Mapai-majority Government. He concludes that it is important to form a strong alternative to Mapai, with its main focus being the needs of the country.