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.
Subjects: Social Reform
Begin writes a response to a letter doubting Begin’s peace efforts. The original letter suggests Begin to go to the polls and argues that if he does not have majority support, he should no longer remain Prime Minister. Begin’s response letter first acknowledges that Israel is not just a country for its residents, but also a country belonging to Diaspora Jews. He also says that a national election is an internal issue. Then Begin talks about how his campaign in the 1977 national election focused on “the political-security problems and the socioeconomic problems.” Israelis voted for Begin fully aware of his political-security visions. Begin talks about how he takes his duty as Prime Minister seriously and it’s his responsibility to strengthen Israel’s security. Begin believes that strengthening Israel’s security means having peace with its neighbors. He claims that the original letter’s idea of security would lead to permanent bloodshed and thus, threaten Israel’s existence.
In a speech to the French fundraiser’s representatives, Begin stressed the importance of demilitarizing the Sinai Peninsula and sparing the settlements in the peace accord with Egypt, in order to maintain Israel’s national security. Later, He addressed the autonomy plan’s major principles, as well as the disagreement over Jerusalem’s division and Israel’s right to exist. Finally, he urged the audience to support Project Renewal.
Begin delivers a speech in response to Anwar Sadat’s address to the Knesset. He starts off briefly reflecting on past events to show that Israel has been dedicated to making peace with its neighbors since declaring independence. Then Begin shifts to agree that a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt should not put a wedge between Arab nations because Israel also wants peace with its other neighbors. He hopes that there will no longer be wars between Egypt and Israel and if there are disagreements between the countries, ambassadors will handle it. He shifts to expressing disagreement with Sadat’s statement that Israel took a foreign country. Then he talks about the importance of conducting negotiations respectfully so that there will eventually be a reached consent and thus, a signed peace treaty. Begin includes that he is open to negotiations with neighboring Arab countries and closes by quoting both the Bible and Koran.
Begin speaks to Herut, Hatzohar, and Betar about the history and the future of their Movement. He starts by thanking the members for their strong commitment throughout the years. He reflects on Etzel’s dedication to fighting for the Jewish homeland and Etzel’s patience which prevented a civil war. He shifts and acknowledges the challenges and discrimination the Movement’s members have faced while being in the Opposition. Begin mentions that since the Movement has been in office, it has strengthened the morale of the people. He acknowledges that some members of the Movement are disappointed that they are not part of the new Government. Begin reminds them that the Movement’s guiding principles are justice and righteousness. Additionally, being part of the Movement means to serve the people instead of ourselves. He concludes by sharing his hopes for the upcoming year.