Gideon Lev-Ari interviews Menahem Begin

An interview Begin gave to Israeli reporter Gideon Lev-Ari during the American “reassessment” of 1975. Begin notes the change in the Arab world’s stated demands from the total destruction of Israel to a withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines, but says that the Arab goal of destroying Israel has not changed, only the rhetoric. Begin says there must be a full end to hostilities, followed by direct peace negotiations. Then Israel must give the ‘Arabs of Eretz Israel’ (Begin’s term for the Arabs known as Palestinians living in the West Bank/Judea and Samaria) full cultural autonomy and the option of Israeli citizenship but not national autonomy. The Israel-US relationship will continue to survive disagreements between the two countries. Israel must learn from the Munich agreement not to give in when it is threatened by its enemies and pressured to give in by its friends. In the end, peace will come

Choice in Policy, No Fatalism

An op-ed Begin wrote from the Jerusalem Post. He says that Israel must stand fast in demanding a full peace treaty and not withdrawal from any territory without a peace treaty. Israel is becoming isolated internationally and the PLO, despite having goals similar to the Nazis and carrying out murderous attacks on civilian targets, is gaining international recognition. The government is weak and not standing up for Israel’s rights. The Likud is in favor of a national unity government but the Alignment has sabotaged their efforts to form one by demanding that the Likud give up its principles first. He calls on mobilizing the American Jewish community and the pro-Israel community to lobby on behalf of Israel in America. There is a demographic problem, but if Jews come in large enough numbers from the Soviet Union it will cease to be an issue. Israel also must do more to save the Jews under threat in Syria. If Israel sticks up for its rights it will come through the current challenges.

Likud Leader

An interview Begin gave to the American newspaper “The Stars and Stripes”. After doing well in the 1974 election but not winning the press reports that Begin’s influence over Israeli policy has grown. Begin says that the wars of 1948 and 1967 were wars of self-defense and that Judea and Samaria are integral parts of Israel that cannot be given up. He supports Israel’s participation in the Geneva Peace Conference. He would be willing to give back Egyptian and Syrian land Israel captured in the Yom Kippur . Many regular Israelis agree with him on the issue of territory. He also says that it would be a security risk, and the interviewer gives facts about Jordan and Egypt’s military capabilities that support Begin’s assertions. Kissinger acknowledges the security risks and says the answer is international guarantees. Begin cites the cases of the Sudetenland and the Sinai Campaign to show why international guarantees are worthless.

American Jewish Congress

A speech Begin gave while serving as the chairman of the debate at the 10th Annual American-Israel dialogue of the American Jewish Congress. The word revolution can be either progressive or retrogressive, depending on who the revolutionaries are fighting and their ultimate goals. After the calls to slaughter the Jews were ignored in the 1930s the left cannot expect Israel and the Jews to just ignore the Palestinian and wider Arab calls for the destruction of Israel and extermination of the Jews. Begin says that the people on the New Left are ignorant of the history of the Jews. Violence as used in revolutions should only be used against tyrannies. In democracies, there are other, better ways to bring about change. The Arabs have 20 countries and a vast land. There is no problem if a percent of them live in Israel, and there is no reason for countries to only have one ethnic group in them. That is the thinking of Hitler.

Our Right and Security

Begin discusses the importance of keeping the land Israel gained in the Six-Day War. Begin explains the difference between negative and positive zealotry. He argues that Gahal has positive zealotry, and says that such zealotry helped establish Israel and encourage love for the Jewish Nation and its Motherland. Begin then talks about the importance of protecting the Motherland. He argues that the idea to agree to go back to the green line will threaten Israel because of the Ketyusha rockets, amongst other weapons Israel’s enemies have. Begin quotes statements made my individuals and international documents to prove that since Israel acted out of self-defense during the Six-Day War, it has a right to remain in the land gained. He states that Israel’s Government’s illusion of peace will result in bloodshed. He concludes by describing Judaea’s loss of Jerusalem and how two generations later, they fought back and returned to the land.