In his opening remarks at a White House ceremony, Begin focuses on democracy, future for peace, and the strong relationship between the U.S. and Israel. Begin mentions the successful liberation of Zion, as well as the gruesome Holocaust. Because of Jewish history, Begin says that he badly wants peace because “peace is inseparable from national security.” He continues to say that national security directly relates to the life every person in Israel. Begin shifts to talk about the shrinking of democracy in the world and that it is crucial for free people to unite. He appreciates Jimmy Carter’s kind words about him and the Israeli Government, specifically referencing to Vietnamese refugees. Begin immediately compares the Vietnamese refugees to Jews who were unsuccessful in seeking refuge during the Holocaust. Lastly, in addition to inviting Carter to Jerusalem, he says that the U.S. and Israel ” shall never disagree; we may only agree to differ.”
Subjects: Vietnamese refugees
After Shimon Peres addresses the Knesset as the leader of the opposition, Begin addresses the Knesset to close the debate and to receive confidence in the government from the Knesset. Begin criticizes Peres for the aggressive tone he spoke and that he will get used to not being the ruling party. He also reflects on the change within the country that led to Likud getting majority votes. Members from the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality argue with Begin about the future peace options with surrounding Arab nations. Begin then concludes the debate and the vote happens with 63 in favor and 53 against.
Begin describes the American spirit as crushed, defeated, and powerless after a visit in April 1975. He attributes this to the war in Vietnam and America’s feeling of shame that comes with the inability to combat communism. Begin reveals that he was always skeptical of the Paris agreements, and to believe they would be effective in containing communism and preventing war would be cynical or naive. He argues that the spread of communism is just as much a blow to Israel as it is to all other nations. On American television, he explained to the public that the situations in the Middle East and South-East Asia are not comparable. Begin tells Americans that the Arab minority “enjoys cultural autonomy and the option to accept citizenship.” He ends by stating that it would be an unwise choice for Kissinger to advise Ford to not supply Israel with arms. That would be a decision that would cause outrage amongst both Israelis and Americans.