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Yechiam Weitz

This article deals with the disappearance of Menachem Begin, the leader and the chairman of the Herut movement and the sixth Prime Minister of Israel (1977-1983). He disappeared from the political arena for about half a year: from the defeat of his party in the elections of the Second Knesset (26 July 1951) until the debate in the Knesset about the reparations from West Germany. Four central topics will be discussed: (1) the reasons for his disappearance; (2) his whereabouts and activities during that period; (3) the reason for his return to the political arena and the connection between his return and the debate about the reparations; and (4) the significance of this story for Begin's biography.

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Menachem Begin’s World Travels in the 1950s

A Road to Political Legitimacy

Ofira Gruweis-Kovalsky

December 1948 was election season in the nascent State of Israel—the height of the campaign for the country’s first Constituent Assembly, soon to be renamed the Knesset. Elections were set for 25 January 1949. At this historic moment, Menachem Begin

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The Mahapach and Yitzhak Shamir's Quiet Revolution

Mizrahim and the Herut Movement

Uri Cohen and Nissim Leon

In this article we assert that it was Yitzhak Shamir who created new possibilities for mobility within the Herut party, laying the foundation for the Mahapach (electoral upheaval) of 1977. The contrast between Shamir, who avoided the limelight, and Menachem Begin, who was comfortable with the masses, has left Shamir on the sidelines of the research, debate, and discourse on the Herut and Likud parties. Rather than taking the usual approach of focusing on Begin, we highlight Shamir's role in devising and consolidating the new model for the division of power within Herut, making possible the involvement of political forces that had previously been inactive in the party's institutions. Shamir's approach toward integration, which benefited mainly Mizrahim, allowed Herut to remake itself internally. It was this reworked infrastructure, we believe, that brought about the dramatic electoral results of May 1977.

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Lessons from the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Talks

An Interview with Aharon Barak

Raphael Cohen-Almagor

This article is based on an interview conducted in July 2018 with Aharon Barak. In it, Barak reflects on the peace negotiations with Egypt at Camp David during 13 days in September 1978. While expressing great appreciation for the American negotiating team, first and foremost for President Jimmy Carter, for bringing the talks to a successful close, Barak considers negotiating with Carter as the toughest experience of his life. According to Barak, who had just completed his role as legal advisor to the government (1975–1978) and was appointed to the Supreme Court, the key people in the Israeli delegation were Menachem Begin, Moshe Dayan, and Ezer Weizman, while the key players in the Egyptian delegation were Anwar Sadat and Osama El-Baz. The negotiations went through ups and downs and had reached the brink of collapse until the Americans proposed that Carter negotiate directly with El-Baz and Barak. In the article’s conclusion, some important insights are deduced from this interview for future, successful negotiations.

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Amir Goldstein

The establishment of the Likud party in the fall of 1973 proved to be a highly significant event. The new party became the novel political platform that would bring Menachem Begin into government, and it would play a key role in the creation of a

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The Editors

democratic elections were to be held in the immediate aftermath of the War of Independence and during the period of mass immigration. Then we visit the 1950s, with Ofira Gruweis-Kovalsky’s article on Menachem Begin’s extensive trips abroad during Israel

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Yoram Peri and Paul L. Scham

people and factions seeking to curtail the power of Menachem Begin. Instead, Begin emerged as undisputed leader of the new party and, of course, finally became prime minister in 1977. The two articles that follow address a very current issue, namely

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Between Scylla and Charybdis

On Colin Shindler’s Respublica Hebraeorum

Arie M. Dubnov

scrutinized historical figures and numbers carefully enough. Thus, we read that during Sharon’s tenure as minister of agriculture under Menachem Begin, between 1977 and 1981, “twenty-two kibbutzim and moshavim and thirty-four hilltop villages were founded

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Yechiam Weitz

conclusion,” claiming that, “although two or three years might pass until then … they will unite.” He was convinced that, should the Liberals remain an opposition party, they would join with Herut and pave the way for Menachem Begin to assume power. 2 Despite

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The 1956 Strike of Middle-Class Professionals

A Socio-political Alliance with the Right

Avi Bareli and Uri Cohen

fundamentally similar to the General Zionists’ liberal or right-wing republicanism. Headed by Menachem Begin, the party was committed to republican centralization for the purposes of national and economic development on a capitalist, middle-class basis. Begin