Mike Wallace Interviewing Menachem Begin

An interview Begin gave to Chris Wallace. Begin felt persecuted as a Jew and witnessed 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. Allegations that the Irgun 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. Begin says that all people and organizations, including the Irgun, make mistakes. He regrets the civilian deaths at Dir Yassin, but it was a fierce battle to conquer the town which had many casualties on both sides. The Irgun and the Lechi were too small to believe in force. War is a terrible tragedy, because once it begins innocent people are guaranteed to die no matter how careful an army is.

Who Will Act For Israel – If not Israel

Begin focuses on Moshe Sharett’s and the UN’s reactions to the murder at Scorpions’ Pass and the Jewish reprisal at Nahalin. After Scorpion’s Pass, Begin shares that Sharett indirectly approached the UN Security Council and ultimately the UN Security Council did not think the case was proven. Then Nahalin occurred and, while Begin condones the attack, the UN and Sharett condemned it. Begin continues to express why he does not condemn the attack and further explains the double standard the UN places on Israel. He explains that Israel must do what is best for itself, including stopping the spillage of Jewish blood. Begin shares that the Ha’aretz newspaper criticized his standpoints, however, after Nahalin, it deemed the event to be ‘cruel logic.’ In his conclusion Begin acknowledges that the Arab guerilla warfare will continue and no Israeli citizen is safe from these attacks. Begin argues that the warfare will stop once there is no more partition, once the entire Homeland is liberated.

Begin on future of Herut Party

A speech by Begin to a Betar conference in South Africa in 1953. Begin is proud of the delegates to the conference for their allegiance and dedication. He says that Herut must not give up on the goal of a constitution for Israel, even if the idea is unpopular, because it is a necessity. Begin rejects the usage of the terms ‘left’ and ‘right’ as applied to political parties, as they were developed arbitrarily. He argues that Herut will defend the middle class from Mapai’s attempts to destroy it. Herut must be a party for all Jews in Israel. Herut supports the supremacy of the law and the independence of the judiciary. Herut is against the concept of civil marriages because it would lead to two different societies in Israel. The road for Betar and Herut may be long and hard, but their members should remember that Jabotinsky did not live to see the creation of the State of Israel either. They may yet achieve their goals despite their hardships.

Speech by Menachem Begin

A speech Begin gave in New York on the first anniversary of the UN resolution to partition Palestine. The resolution was not a ‘gift’ from the nations of the world to the Jews, but the result of the revolt against the British forces in Palestine which forced the British to bring the issue to the UN. The resolution is not enough because it does not grant the Jews all of historical Israel, but it is important as international recognition of the right of the Jews to independence in their homeland. In the new state Begin and his followers will continue to fight for the ideals which they fought for in the underground, but now in the opposition. Without an opposition no country can truly be free. There will be peace, and then the fighters can lay down their arms. Begin ends by crediting Zeev Jabotinsky and his vision for their success and by thanking God for allowing them to live to see this day.

Why the Irgun Fought the British

During a visit to Britain, Begin responds to an op-ed in “The Times” accusing him and Etzel of being terrorists and of carrying out a massacre at Dir Yassin. Begin is willing to speak about the revolt; however, the British government owes the Jews an explanation for its refusal to allow the rescue of Jews during the Holocaust. Etzel fighters fought valiantly and morally, trying to avoid civilian casualties and giving warnings of their attacks beforehand. After the British were defeated and the Arabs attacked and carried out massacres. Etzel initially resisted counter-attacking, but eventually took the offensive after their pleas for peace went unanswered. To relieve the siege on Jerusalem, Etzel and Lechi conquered Dir Yassin. Etzel gave advance warning for civilians to leave, forfeiting the element of surprise. The battle was intense, resulting in many casualties on both sides. Begin and Etzel regretted all civilian casualties, but maintain that no massacre took place.