Begin presents to the Knesset with his government and its guidelines. In this speech, he first clarifies that he will not ask for other nations to recognize Israel’s right to exist, because existence is a right. He hopes other nations will recognize Israel’s sovereignty and “the mutual need for a life of peace and understanding.” He speaks about the Jewish people’s eternal relationship to the Land of Israel. Begin then reads the list of guidelines of the government.
Subjects: Greater Israel
After Shimon Peres addresses the Knesset as the leader of the opposition, Begin addresses the Knesset to close the debate and to receive confidence in the government from the Knesset. Begin criticizes Peres for the aggressive tone he spoke and that he will get used to not being the ruling party. He also reflects on the change within the country that led to Likud getting majority votes. Members from the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality argue with Begin about the future peace options with surrounding Arab nations. Begin then concludes the debate and the vote happens with 63 in favor and 53 against.
Begin criticizes Rabin’s stance on the issue of returning Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. He argues that if that land is no longer considered part of Israel, they will unite and create a Palestinian State that is fundamentally against Israel and will use the weapons provided by the Soviets to attack and attempt to destroy Israel. This is the truth, he argues, that must be acknowledged in order to establish peace. He believes that Rabin portrayed both himself and the enemy as moderate, while Begin has a more extreme perspective.
Begin criticizes anyone who wishes to give back the territories of Gaza, Judea, and Samaria. He claims that Israel losing these territories would be detrimental to Israeli national security. He believes that the Soviet Union would use these territories to create a place for themselves in the Middle East, which would threaten national security greatly. Begin states his displeasure with Arafat, the Palestinians, and the PLO, calling them a murder organization.
Begin explains why there is a struggle for peace between Israel and its Arab neighboring countries. There is an argument that Israel is preventing peace because Israel insists to retain land gained from the Six-Day War. He then shares Mapam’s plan for peace, which includes the Gaza Strip. Regarding the Golan Heights, they will negotiate some land, but will not give it all up. Additionally, Israel must link Sharm-el-Sheikh to Eilat. Lastly, Jerusalem will be the capital for one country, Israel. Begin then explains how Egypt, Syria, and Jordan all refuse Mapam’s plan. Begin shifts to Yigal Allon’s plan for peace, specifically focusing on Judea and Samaria. He believes in annexing some of the land and linking Jordan with parts of the West Bank. Begin says though, that Hussein does not find this plan acceptable. Begin then shifts to the crux of his argument: Arabs will not accept a peace treaty that will ensure Israel’s security.