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.
Subjects: War of Independence
A speech Begin addressed to the Egyptian people near the beginning of the peace process with Egypt. The two nations have been engaged in conflict since Egypt invaded Israel upon its declaration of independence. Egyptian attempts to destroy Israel were all in vain and unnecessary. Israel has and will continue to defend itself if attacked, but it does not want to fight at all. Egypt and Israel were allies in ancient times, and they can be again. President Sadat has offered to come to soeak in the Knesset so that no more Egyptian soldiers will be hurt, and Israel welcomes him with open arms. The Koran says that Israel belongs to the Jews. Both sides can find common ground in religion and other areas to live in peace.
Begin responds to the UN resolution condemning Zionism as racism. Begin first talks about how Arab States hide their hatred of Jews by claiming that they are not anti-Semitic, because they themselves are Semitic. He compares Sadat’s propaganda to propaganda Nazis used. He continues to show that Sadat is not moderate or peace-oriented. Begin then talks about Zionism. He argues that Zionism is at the core of Judaism because it is the idea of returning to the nation’s Motherland. He hopes that in addition for there being a Jewish majority in Israel, there will also be the majority of Jews in Israel. He argues that “Zionism is the fruit of love” to oppose Sadat’s claim that “Zionism brought hatred and destruction to the Middle East.” He talks about the Jewish history of destruction. Additionally, he makes the distinction that Jews did not liberate Israel from Arabs, but from the British. It was the British, not Jews, who were the foreign regime prior to Statehood.
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
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.