February 27 marks the 20th anniversary of the passing of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, established in his memory, is planning a series of events to commemorate his colorful career as an Israeli leader. The Center, in Jerusalem, will celebrate “Begin Week” between February 24 and March 1, with a series of activities in the Center and other locations.
The events will include lectures, presentations, a photography exhibition, and a concert. The events will open a year-long commemoration of Begin's life, culminating in the 100th anniversary of his birth, on August 16, 2003.
Herzl Makov, director of the Center, said that “even though it has been twenty years since Begin's death, and nearly 30 years since he resigned as Prime Minister and retired from public life, his stature – and his presence, in the form of his accomplishments – are more relevant than ever to the public discourse.
“Menachem Begin was a Prime Minister for whom social justice was an overriding concern,” said Makov, “and he proved it by establishing Project Renewal,” an ambitious project that sought to bring education and opportunities to some of Israel's toughest neighborhoods during the 1980s.
“He was a leader for whom the rule of law was paramount,” Makov said, “and he was the one started the peace process in achieving the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country, Egypt, with the Camp David Accords. And, he was a great military leader, the man who ordered the destruction of the nuclear reactor in Iraq, preventing our enemies from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.
“And more than anything else,” added Makov, “Menachem Begin was an honest and modest man, true to his principles, and a lover of humanity.”