A Blow for Democracy

Begin focuses on Yitzchak Rabin’s undemocratic stand that the chairman of the Jewish Agency (the Zionist Organization) must be part of the Labor Party. Party membership is the important factor, not valuable qualifications and experience. Begin gives examples showing that this has not happened in other democratic countries. Begin talks about Labor Party spokesmen’s reactions when a candidate for the Chairman of the Jewish Agency chose to not enter his candidacy in the name of a political party. They identified him as being part of Likud and said they would do their best to prevent his election. Begin argues that by having party membership be the important factor for the position as chairman is “a blow against democracy in Israel.”

What is ‘a Piece of Peace’

Begin expresses his belief that the Government is guilty of political blunder. He first explains that the Israeli Government is not alone; other governments have also slacked on being honest with its citizens. He specifically critique’s the Government’s decision to renounce its demand for both direct negotiations with its neighbors and retreat from land only after signed peace treaties. He counter-argues Henry Kissinger’s argument that since Israel’s neighbors do not agree to peace treaties, it is unrealistic for Israel to demand peace treaties. Begin speaks about what Arab leaders demand and then provides examples of peace treaties and territorial changes post-World War II. He concludes with a hope that the Jewish New Year will bring peace treaties and awareness of any new political blunder by the Government.

Chiefs of the Pre-State Resistance Looks Back

Begin participates in a discussion led by Geulah Cohen with other key actors (Moshe Sneh, Nathan Yellin-Mor, Haim Landau, Shimon Peres, Eliezer Livneh, Shmuel Katz, and Ya’acov Riftin) about the pre-State resistance. Begin first speaks about the United Resistance Movement and argues against Moshe Sneh’s statement that the Haganah always fought against the British regime. He acknowledges that illegal immigration led by the Haganah was an important form of resistance, but not armed resistance. In fact, the Haganah assisted the British regime in the attempt to liquidate the Underground during “the season”. Begin returns to speak about the United Resistance Movement, and about the King David Hotel operation. Begin also shares how the British government was not interested in stopping the annihilation of European Jews during the Holocaust. The discussion closes with disagreement about what happened with Altalena and the mistrust Haganah leaders had towards the Underground’s intentions.

Let Me Dispel the Fears From Your Hearts

Begin wants to dissolve the discomfort Ha’aretz readers have about Etzel. He begins by emphasizing that it is most important that the readers contemplate his words. Then he continues to mention that no nation besides Israel has ever questioned its liberators’ actions. Instead, it “is considered a privilege by them.” Begin then goes into detail about the hatred he and Etzel felt from the Jewish Agency’s leader, Ben Gurion, prior to the negotiation. He said that Ben Gurion used a system of propaganda, which he referred to as “the hate system.” Along with propaganda, Begin dismantles the lie stating that Etzel did not want a united army after the emergence of the State. Lastly, he mentions the importance of Ben Gurion saying that taking down Altalena might have been a mistake. Through providing a thorough understanding of events that happened in the past, Begin ends his piece with: “it is not we [Etzel] who must correct any image, but they who must correct their angle of vision.”

How We Became a Free People

Begin reflects on the special UN session convening to discuss the question of Eretz Israel. He argues that this session was called for as a result of Etzel’s consistent revolt against the British. He shares how Ernest Bevin submitted his partition solution in January of 1947, and while the Arabs completely rejected this idea, the Jewish Agency representatives discussed ways this solution could be amended. Begin continues the story that Bevin rejected the amendments. Begin recalls that on March 1, 1947, Etzel blew up the British Officers’ Club, which led to Britain requesting for the special UN session. Begin remembers that Russia’s Foreign Minister exclaimed that it is time for the Jewish people to have self-sovereignty in Eretz Israel. Begin concludes by quoting what was said to the Etzel soldiers prior to their domino-effect attack.