An interview Menachem Begin gave to the Herald Tribune in March 1947 and reprinted later for relevance to the formation of a provisional government in Israel. The IZL is prepared for a long and difficult struggle with the British. Though the IZL wants to end the policy of reprisals, it will continue the policy until its members are treated as combatants, even if it means hanging British soldiers if its own members are hanged. The IZL has had contact with Arabs in Palestine, though it has been limited. The IZL has plans to carry out attacks outside of Palestine. They do not favor but will not oppose the discussion of Palestine at the UN. The Soviet Union is against the idea of Jewish immigration to Israel from other countries but has a point in that some Jews seem to favor elements of British imperialism. The IZL is not Fascist because it is fighting for survival, is against totalitarianism, and is in favor of democracy and individual freedoms.
Subjects: Reprisal Actions
Begin expresses his opinion about Israel’s attempt to capture PLO’s George Habash. Begin first speaks about the condemnation Israel faced from both the East and West. He then explains that Habash is like Eichman because he wants to kill anyone who is Jewish or Israel-oriented. Begin provides an example of the attack Habash and his comrades committed in the Athens Airport. This example also shows that other nations will not condemn Habash’s desire to harm people travelling to Israel. Begin then speaks about it is up to Israel to defend Jews and Israelis. He continues to explain that Israel needs to be proactive, instead of just reactive to the PLO’s terror attacks. He concludes that he is a true patriot because “true patriotism demands that one should acknowledge national mistakes and strive to rectify them.”
After the revelation that Israelis were tortured in Syria, Begin calls on the government to respond with a bill promising to bring the torturers to justice. He begins with a history of torture in ancient Greece and Rome and the Catholic Church, then moves on to the present circumstances to call for the Knesset to stand firm in support of the captured Israelis.
Begin writes in “Herut” about the current Syrian aggression and how Israel should respond. He first suggests for Israel to counter-attack only when Israel will choose the place and time. He criticizes the denial of any Knesset debate regarding the Syrian aggression and then he responds to the argument that Israel retaliated out of proportion. In this response, he provides an example of when Russia shot down an American spy pilot to show that if Russia can use all military means on a spy plane in the name of self-defense, then Israel should be allowed to self-defend against an aggressive neighbor. He shifts to argue how the “Davar” newspaper would have negatively responded to Israel’s recent counter-attack if Herut was in power. Begin concludes in honoring the Hebrew soldier and that their blood spilt in a battle is never spilt in vain.
An extract of an interview Begin gave to Chris Wallace. The full version of the interview can be found at a newsletter from the UNITED ZIONISTS REVISIONISTS OF AMERICA. Begin felt persecuted as a Jew and winess persecution against Jews from his childhood through his college years. He joined Zeev Jabotinsky’s Betar movement and decided that the Jews had to fight for their own state. Etzel saw the situation in Mandatory Palestine more realistically than the Haganah and knew that there was no way they would be given a state without fighting for it. Allegations that Etzel was a bunch of cowards who killed randomly and would not face the enemy in open conflict were completely wrong, as the warnings before attacks, storming of Acre prison, and brave deaths of the Gallows Martyrs proves.