Biography of Menachem Begin
Begin’s story was one of high drama. A survivor of the Holocaust (his parents and brother were murdered), he was a terrorist turned statesman, a Zionist who ended up on the losing side of a civil war that he ultimately won by entering the opposition and eventually topping Israel’s seemingly immovable Labor party, thus changing the face of Israeli politics through our own day. A phenomenal orator who could also seem hesitant in public, he moved from being a fugitive hunted by the British to a peace-making prime minister with the confidence to stand up to the President of the United States.
He was also a deeply tragic figure. Upon his election, thousands of adoring, ecstatic Israelis cheered in the streets shouting “Begin King of Israel,” but he died just fifteen years later, a recluse forgotten by many, after the debacle of the Lebanon War.
This will not be an academic biography but a glimpse of the essential commitments of a giant who was a hero to many, a villain to others, a man who made tragic mistakes but whose values were, in many ways, precisely those that the Jewish people will need to rediscover in order to survive.
This biography will be published as part of the Nextbook series. Publication is scheduled for Spring 2014.