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Menachim Wolfovitch Begin

Menachim Wolfovitch Begin.
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Menachim Wolfovitch Begin.

(Brest Litovsk, Russia 1913-Israel 1992) Israeli prime minister 1977-1983, leader of the Israeli struggle for the peace treaty with Egypt which was signed in 1979, winner of Nobel Peace Prize 1978.
Begin was a strong and outspoken conservative leader, but with a pragmatic attitude toward politics. While internationally praised for his achievements in establishing peace with Egypt, the condemnation of the invasion of Lebanon and the following occupation of southern Lebanon was equally strong. Begin will be remembered for conducting politics which were exclusively formed to fit the interests of Israel, no matter what outward appearance they took.

1913 August 16: Born in Brest Litovsk, Russia (after World War I, Poland, now Brest in Belarus).
1939: After studying law at the University of Warsaw for some years, Begin becomes active in the Zionist movement and leader of one of the groups. In 1939, Begin flees to Lithuania, but is arrested by Soviet authorities.
1940-41: Is interned in a Soviet concentration camp.
1941: Joins a Soviet-based Polish army.
1942: Moves to Palestine, where he is active in Jewish guerrilla activity, as leader of Irgun Zvai Leumi, which was fighting for Jewish independence from the British. The Irgun was considered one of the most relentless groups of its time.
1948: On the foundations of Irgun Zvai Leumi, the Herat party is formed. Begin becomes its leader.
1949: Begin is elected to Knesset.
1973: Begin becomes co-leader of the newly formed Likud bloc.
1977: Begin becomes prime minister after winning the elections.
— Invited president Anwar Sadat of Egypt to Jerusalem, and peace talks start between the two of them.
1978 December 10: Begin receives, together with Sadat, the Nobel Peace Prize, for their joint efforts in establishing a peace between the two countries.
1981: Begin wins the elections for the second time and continues as prime minister.
— Begin no longer accept any compromises from the Arabs. He initiates settlements on the West Bank (Jordanese territory) and annexes the Golan Heights (Syrian territory).
1982: He launches the Israeli attack on Lebanon.
— Begin's wife dies, an experience that will affect his view of the world strongly.
1983 September 16: Begin resigns, after being strongly criticized for the occupation of southern Lebanon.
1992 March 9: After years with almost no contact with the public, Begin dies.

By Tore Kjeilen