BE­GIN: GOOD & BAD

The Jerusalem Post - The Jerusalem Post Magazine - - LETTERS -

The ar­ti­cles (“Peace in our time?” March 22) on the 40year Egypt-Is­rael peace ac­cord re­minded one of its key player: Me­nachem Be­gin.

Be­gin’s main plus point was his Aha­vat Yis­rael – his gen­uine love of fel­low Jews. That, and his no-com­pro­mise at­ti­tude when fight­ing the Bri­tish from 1944 to 1948. Only he and his Ir­gun were up to the task of oust­ing the Bri­tish from Eretz Yis­rael. With­out the Ir­gun’s King David Ho­tel bomb­ing, the Of­fi­cer’s Club Bomb­ing, the “Night of the Beat­ings,” the Acre Prison Break, the Sergeant’s Af­fair and the many other at­tacks on the Bri­tish mil­i­tary, the Bri­tish may never have ex­ited the Holy Land.

A case can even be made that Be­gin was re­spon­si­ble for has­ten­ing the end of the Bri­tish Em­pire. When in In­dia, Malaya, Burma, Cey­lon, Cyprus, Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, Nige­ria, Ja­maica, etc., they saw how a hand­ful of Jewish fight­ers in Pales­tine had forced the with­drawal of the mighty Bri­tish, they were em­bold­ened to fol­low like­wise.

Con­versely, Be­gin’s main neg­a­tive point was the bull­doz­ing of Yamit, which by to­day would likely have be­come a sec­ond Tel Aviv, and his ced­ing of Si­nai to the wily An­war Sa­dat in 1979 in ex­change for a piece of pa­per. The Si­nai Penin­sula was a huge strate­gic buf­fer, had three mas­sive air bases with vast train­ing airspace, had tremen­dous tourist and res­i­den­tial po­ten­tial, and had the in­valu­able Abu Rudeis oil field. This oil field could have sup­plied all of Is­rael’s needs for the past 40 years and would have en­abled her to­day to have had the high­est stan­dard of liv­ing in the world. This re­treat, to­gether with Be­gin’s snatch­ing de­feat from out of the jaws of vic­tory in 1982, when con­trary to the urg­ing of the Lubav­itcher Rebbe, he al­lowed Yasser Arafat and his trapped 14,000 PL0 ter­ror­ists to es­cape Beirut in good or­der, has been a con­tin­u­ous bane for Is­rael to this day: “Never give a sucker a sec­ond chance!”

Omi­nously, Zechariah 14 fore­tells that Egypt may yet be Is­rael’s main an­tag­o­nist be­fore Moshi­ach, just as it was at the time of the Ex­o­dus 3,330 years ago. AMNON GOLD­BERG Safed

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