Profile: Benny Begin is Back

A traditional nationalist says his beliefs have finally come of age.

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Yishai Fleisher,

Benny Begin
Benny Begin
Israel News Photo: (file)

On November 2nd 2008, Benny Begin resigned from his post as the Director of the Geological Survey of Israel, and announced his return to politics and to the Likud, as well as his intention to seek a place in the Likud list for the upcoming elections.

Benny Begin, son of former Likud Prime Minister Menachem Begin, was first elected to the Knesset in 1988 as a Likud MK. In 1993 he ran in the Likud primary to succeed Yitzhak Shamir as party leader but was defeated by Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu. He served as Science Minister under Netanyahu from 1996, when Likud returned to power, until 1997 when he resigned to protest against the Hebron Agreement.

Benny Begin has aged ten years since he was last in politics, yet his opinions have remained the same - that is how he described himself in a recent interview with the Hebrew newspaper Makor Rishon. However, Begin believes that his nationalistic agenda is now accepted by the majority of Israelis.

Begin believes that after the elections it will not be hard to establish a unity government because all the various camps today understand that Israel cannot take the IDF out of Judea and Samaria and that the state cannot evict the settlers without some kind of arrangement - and no such arrangement is possible in the next four years.

According to Begin, "Everyone understands that the security of the state depends on the intelligence gathering of the General Security Services (Shin Bet) and the IDF's targeted strikes are based on that information.

“Everyone in Israel agrees with this, and therefore what is the difference between all the camps? I think that we cannot take the security forces out of Judea and Samaria; my left-leaning friends believe that we cannot take out the IDF from the 'West Bank'; while others on the left think we cannot take out the IDF from the 'Territories'. These are nothing but various expressions for the same geographic regions whose ancient and correct name is Judea and Samaria. This is the whole disagreement."

Regarding dismantling the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, Begin states that "It is a flight of fancy, because such a thing could only take place if there was an agreement. Even those who engineered the Disengagement understand that a one-sided retreat brings great hardships.”

“The estimation is that there will be no agreement, and with no agreement, there is certainly no possibility of retreat or eviction of settlements,” he predicted, “even to the thinking of those who view themselves as moderate and realistic."